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REST209: World Religions- Adams: Getting Started on Research

Is My Source Scholarly?

Introduction

This page offers guidance and examples of the best methods of research for assignments in your class. 

  • Look up your topic in the Reference tab first!
    • While looking through our reference databases try to glean a better understanding of the topic and be mindful of any keywords or aspects of the topic.
    • Once you have a good understanding of the basis of your research interest and a few keywords follow the directions below.
    • Note*- Reference articles are not usually included in your final paper but instead are meant to help you understand the topic.
  •  Search Process
    • Students will be researching complex topics for their assignments in this course, so sophisticated search techniques may be needed. Using things like Boolean operators, synonyms, limiters or specific databases may help you find relevant information.
      • Boolean Search Operators:

        • AND- will make your search more specific. It means that both terms used must be included in the search results.

          An example would be if you are looking to explore the religious aspects of Confucianism. You might enter the terms Confucian AND Religion. This would exclude search results that do not have both in the article.

        • OR - Will make your search broader. It means that either search term could be included in your search results.

          An example would be maybe you were looking for a couple of sects within a religion.... So you typed in Sunni OR Shiites OR Islam. This would broaden your search to include both sects as well as the overall religion.

        • NOT- Is useful if you keep getting recurring things in your list outside of your interests in your search results.

          An example would be if you are researching the company Amazon but you keep getting search results on Amazon warriors.... While they are interesting, this is distracting from the research so using Amazon NOT warriors would exclude them from the list. You will be surprised how useful this one can be!

      • Synonyms or Alternative Phrases
        • If a search term is not giving you the results that you need, try using synonyms or alternative phrases relating to the same topic. 
        • For example, try "Zoroastrianism" in addition to "Mazdaism", or you could try using Zoroast*. Adding that star is called truncation and will tell the search tool that you are looking for anything with "Zoroast" as the base of the word.
      • Limiters
        • Limiters can be found in the left hand side of search results in FoxHunt and in the majority of our databases.
        • Using these you can limit publication date, what type of publication (whether it is a news article, book, etc.) and so much more.
        • When looking for scholarly/peer reviewed articles for this class makes sure to check the Peer-reviewed Journals box in the limiters.
      • Specific Databases
        • FoxHunt is always a great starting tool but many times you will find that it can drown out a lot of useful articles because it is very general. If you find this keeps happening and you have a good understanding of what field you are searching for subject specific databases can be a great place to find information.
  • Research early
    • giving you the opportunity to utilize the interlibrary loan process if it is needed. 
    • allowing you time to alter your topic if necessary.
  • If additional help is needed, contact Ask-A-Librarian with any questions or to make an appointment with a librarian.