Step 1: Review the Beginning your research section
If you are unsure on how to start finding information on your research topic, please review the Beginning your Research section of the Research Coach.
Step 2: Use Research Databases to locate articles in periodicals
Indexes vs. Databases
While the terms indexes and databases are used interchangeably, there is a difference.
An electronic research index is a tool used to locate only articles on various subjects in a pre-selected list of magazines, journals, and newspapers.
An example of an index is Sociological Abstracts. By using this tool, you locate articles that are published in sociological-related journals.
A database is not limited to indexes. A database is defined as a collection of information regardless of what that information is. An example of a database is STAT-USA which is a government-published database of statistical information. Another example is The World Almanac or even The Encyclopedia Britannica.
Research Databases vs. the Internet
The Internet is a popular information system consisting of a network of networks of computers and information on the Internet can easily be found using a search engine like Google.
However, you cannot rely on the validity or credibility of the information as anyone who has access to a computer can post a website on the Internet.
While Research Databases use web-based technology, you are NOT searching the Internet itself.
When you use a Research Database, you are seeking specific articles in selected magazines, journals, and newspapers, and/or specific information in a specific database. They are compiled or created by companies and organizations.
The Research Databases available on the Library's webpages are specific commercial products that have been previewed and purchased by the Pacific University Librarians for use by the Pacific University Community users.
Step 3: Write/print your results
Learn more about citation styles.
Note whether the article is from a scholarly journal, popular magazine, or newspaper!
- Are in-depth studies on specialized subjects
- Use a "peer-review" process prior to publication -- where a draft of the article is critically assessed by other scholars in the author's field of specialty.
- Are usually indexed in subject-specific Research Databases/indexes; such as ERIC, Psychological Abstracts, Medline, CINAHL, etc.
- Are published quarterly, twice a year, or even less
- Do not usually rely on advertising for revenue
- Identify the author, usually an expert
- Are longer articles, usually over 8 pages long
- Have charts, graphs, and photographs
- Have bibliographies
- Are sponsored or published by professional organizations
- Are short overviews for the general reader
- Are indexed in popular research databases/indexes such as Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature
- Are published weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly
- Include lots of advertising
- Are familiar titles found in supermarkets and drugstores
- Do not always identify the author
- Are shorter articles, 1-3 pages long
Step 4: Determine if the Library has the periodical in print
Check Boxer Search, the Library's online catalog, to see if the Pacific University Library has the periodical in print.
If so, the periodical will be on the Library's second floor, arranged alphabetically by the title.
You can then photocopy the article.
Copies are $.05 per page.
Step 5: If the Library does not have the periodical in print
|Do this First||Use the E-journals to determine if the Library has web-based access to the specific periodical and/or article.
If you are accessing the E-journals link off-campus, you will need to open a new browser window and access the specific Research Database first before proceeding to the specific periodical and/or article.
|Do this Second||Use Interlibrary Services if that Library does not have the periodical either in print or as web-based.
Please remember to include the ISSN (International Standard Serials Number) when completing your Interlibrary Services form!
If you are using a Research Database, the ISSN appears only in the full or complete display of the citation -- not in the abstract or citation only display.
Step 6: Evaluate the article
It is important to critically evaluate the article for accuracy, bias, content, or relevancy!