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ENGL 110: Comp II, Adry

Bringing in Scholarly Sources

Why use scholarly sources? 

Scholarly sources are generally more reliable because they have gone through the process of peer-review. They generally go into greater detail about an event than a secondary source, and will have detailed citations leading you to the primary sources consulted. 

How do I find scholarly sources? 

Scholarly sources can be found in the library databases. See the list of databases below to get started. When searching Ram search, use the "scholarly, peer-reviewed" limiter in the left-hand bar. 

Relevant Library Databases

EBSCO Search Box

Ram Search

Search for articles, books, journals, and more!

Creating an Effective Search

Boolean Operators and Wildcards

Boolean operators tell the database how to put your words together in a search. Wildcards allow you to search for a a word, or part of a word with any ending. Here are some examples: 

  • "fugitive slave act" AND massachusetts --> This search will combine the two search terms. The phrase "fugitive slave act" AND the word Massahcusetts
  • "fugitive slave act" AND (resistance OR opposition) --> This search will search for the phrase "fugitive slave act" AND the word resistance OR search the phrase "fugitive slave act" AND the word opposition
  • massachusetts AND slav* --> This search will search for the word massachusetts AND any word that begins with slav, like slave or slavery.

When you are starting to think of search terms think of synonyms! This will help you find everything on your topic. For example, if I'm interested in research on college campuses, I may want to include the words university OR higher education in my search. 

Keyword Searching vs. Subject Searching

Keyword searching is when you type a word or phrase into the database search bar and search the entire database record or a specific part of the database record for that keyword. 

Subject searching is limiting your search to the subject terms in the database record. 

Both are effective methods of searching, and can be used in combination.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be a great resource for finding additional scholarly research articles!

Google Scholar Tips

Getting Weird Results? Make sure you are searching for scholarly articles

Google Scholar recently added the ability to search case law. If you are getting weird looking results, make sure you have the "articles" button selected.

Screenshot of Google Scholar search bar with the "articles" button highlighted

Cited by: A great feature!

If you have an article that interests you, try searching for it in Google Scholar to see if it has been cited by anyone. This can be a really great way to find additional scholarly articles on your topic. Just click the "cited by" link under the article description. If you don't see the "cited by" link, it may mean your article is too recent.

Screenshot of an article description in Google Scholar. "Cited by" link is highlighted

Useful Video Tutorials

The following tutorials show the basics of how to search Ram Search, Worldcat, and interlibrary loan.