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Research Strategy: Find and Evaluate your Sources

Not sure where to start on your big research paper? Start here! We'll walk you through it step by step.

Evaluating Sources

As you perform your search, keep in mind the value of your results. Discard results that are not high quality materials.

Evaluate Your Sources!

More on Evaluating Sources

How to Find Articles

There are three ways you can find journal articles.

The first way is to search through the library databases to find journal articles. This is the most common and probably the easiest way to find journal articles. Go to the Databases A-Z page for a full list of library databases..

The second way is to search using our electronic journal locator.  Use this tool when you know the title of the journal you would like to search in. You can also search for articles within journals according to subject. The disadvantage to this method is that you are searching through journals one at a time instead of searching many different journals all at once.

The third way to search for articles is to do a search with Google Scholar. You will retrieve a lot of results, and it's more difficult to get a precise search. A lot of the material in Google Scholar requires a subscription. You may be able to read an abstract, but you won't have access. Library databases and searches are more precise and will not ask for payment.

Subject Headings

Subject Headings come from a set of controlled vocabulary. While there may be a lot of variation on keywords, librarians have made an official and standard way of saying most topics, authors, or works so that everything on the same topic really are grouped together. When the library gets an item (an article or a book) the librarians assign it a few subject terms about the core topic of the item.

Subject Headings are a great way to limit your search results. Because they come from a rigidly controlled vocabulary it is often easiest to run a search with keywords, and then look for the result limiter "Subjects." Often databases will list how many articles were retrieved from each subject heading. You can select the subject headings closest to your topic.  

How to Find Books

The library has a number of both physical books and ebooks for yo to  use for your research. Don't forget that you don't have to use the whole book. Often finding the perfect chapter in a book is a great complement to other articles.


Need Help? Come to the Library!

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The Librarian
95 North 300 West
3rd Floor
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
801-524-8150 , (text: 801-200-3209)