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Unformatted text preview: © Corbis/photolibrary 4 It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. —Arthur Conan Doyle (ThinkExist, 2010a) Scottish writer and creator of Sherlock Holmes (1859–1930) soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 41 Understanding and Locating Research Sources After you select and narrow your research topic, one of your first tasks as a researcher is to find sources of information and data for your research papers. What types of sources are available to you as a researcher? Which sources are acceptable for college-level research? And, where will you find these sources? This chapter helps you answer these questions. 7/7/10 3:47 PM Observation, surveys, and experimentation produce Data Data are interpreted by the researcher to produce Information Information is compiled into Research findings/results Research findings/results are analyzed and evaluated by the researcher, based on knowledge, experience, and work of other researchers to form Conclusions Research findings, methodology, and conclusions are published and constitute Primary research sources Primary research sources are discussed and interpreted by others and constitute Secondary research sources Figure 4.1 Producing Primary and Secondary Research Sources soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 42 Finding information is usually not a problem in today’s world. Most of us are bombarded daily with information at school, work, and home; in newspapers and magazines; and on television, radio, and the Internet. In fact, so much information is available to us today on so many subjects that it is impossible to digest it all and to know what to believe and what not to believe. As we know, not all information is good information; some is true, some is only partially true, and some is completely false. When scholars and scientists conduct primary research, they collect data. The term data refers to facts and numbers about a certain event. For example, a researcher might observe how many people pass through a certain city intersection, while talking on a cell phone, every hour during a given day. The passage of these people through the intersection is a fact. We can verify that they actually passed through the intersection by videotaping them or by having more than one researcher participate in the observation. Suppose the researchers count the men and women separately. At the end of the day, these facts and numbers constitute the data that the researchers have collected. We often refer to these data as raw data because, by themselves, the numbers are not very useful. However, researchers then organize these data and other facts they discover in their research and use mathematical methods such as statistical analysis to interpret the data. For example, researchers might compare the number of men versus women who were talking on the phone or compare the number of people using their cell phones between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. versus the number between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. When they analyze the numbers, they can begin to see patterns in the behavior of the people they study and translate the raw data into meaningful information. This information is referred to as the research findings or results. From these results, the researchers can then evaluate the data, synthesize what they found with the results other researchers have obtained from similar studies, and begin to draw some conclusions. When a researcher conducts the research process carefully and in accordance with accepted research requirements and draws conclusions based on sound mathematical principles, his or her experience and knowledge, and the results of previous research, the research findings are usually credible or trustworthy. However, others may interpret this information differently, so information can be disputed, but the data simply are what they are. Because words can have different meanings, researchers attempt, whenever possible, to use numerical data or statistics to support their conclusions. They then publish their research findings, the methodology they used to conduct the research study, and their conclusions in a research paper. Other researchers can then comment on and interpret the work. Figure 4.1 summarizes how primary and then secondary research sources are produced. It is important to differentiate between the terms data and information. Data are the raw facts and numbers derived from research. Information is data that have been compiled and interpreted to make them meaningful. As a researcher, your job is to find credible information, in the form of (1) information from different sources that is supported by sound evidence such as undisputed facts and (2) data that you evaluate, synthesize, and report in your research papers. You find this information in primary and secondary research sources. One of the best ways to make sure you have accurate information is to obtain it from a reputable source. A 7/7/10 3:47 PM reputable source is one that is highly regarded by other researchers as credible or trustworthy and has a reputation for accuracy. It is a source that is careful in its own research, explains where it obtained the information it presents, and documents or cites its sources so that you can check them for yourself if you have any questions. 4.1 Primary versus Secondary Research Sources One of your first tasks when you find information is to identify whether you have a primary or a secondary research source. In earlier chapters, we discussed the differences between primary and secondary research. As you recall, primary research is original research where the researcher has designed and carried out his or her own research study. Secondary research reviews, analyzes, or evaluates research results from primary research studies or discusses primary research sources. When the results of primary research are published for the first time, a document first appears in print or electronic form, or a report is initially issued, these materials are referred to as primary research sources. Primary Research Sources Primary sources are often your best sources for academic research because they are original work, not someone else’s secondhand or thirdhand interpretation of it. You must remember, though, that just because a document is original does not mean it is true, accurate, or acceptable for college research. In today’s electronic world, anyone can produce original material by publishing almost anything on the Web or by self-publishing “studies,” documents, reports, newsletters, or books. You must carefully evaluate all research sources and make judgments about whether they are reputable and acceptable. Table 4.1 lists examples of primary research sources you may consider using for your Ashford assignments. However, remember that not all of these sources will be acceptable or appropriate for academic research. We discuss how to evaluate sources in Chapter 5. Table 4.1 Primary Research Sources Case studies, field studies, and observational studies Surveys, interviews, and public opinion polls Correlational; longitudinal studies Experimental studies Government documents including historical documents, congressional/legislative digests, Federal Register, and Congressional Record Business and organizational documents such as internal newsletters, magazines, press releases, marketing materials, and annual reports Nonfiction books such as autobiographies and historical accounts Technical reports, white papers, and monographs Statistical data of all types including census data, marketing research data, economic reports, financial data, state statistical abstracts, and annual planning information Research journals and feature articles in magazines and newspapers that are original works Historical first-person letters, emails, memoirs, diaries, letters to the editor, autobiographies, and personal journals Movies, videos, podcasts, audio recordings, and blogs Electronic media such as computer software, data files, and databases Speeches and proceedings of meetings, symposia, and conferences Doctoral dissertations, master’s theses, unpublished works and publications of limited circulation Photographs, charts, graphs, cartoons, and advertisements soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 43 7/7/10 3:47 PM Secondary Research Sources When primary research is published, others often discuss, evaluate, interpret, and write about it. These written articles and reports of primary research are secondary research sources and may appear in many different forms. Table 4.2 lists a few of these forms of secondary research. Table 4.2 Secondary Research Sources Research summaries Reports of surveys, interviews, and public opinion polls Statistical reports Discussion journals and interpretive magazine and newspaper articles Government reports and media reports of government actions Business and organizational reports, minutes of meetings, and internal correspondence Nonfiction books such as biographies, documentaries, and historical dramatizations Literary criticism and book and movie reviews At times, primary research sources will not be available to you. For example, the original U.S. Constitution, a primary source, is housed in the National Archives in Washington, DC; you cannot read it for yourself. However, you may find copies, excerpts, and explanations of this document (secondary sources) that are acceptable for your undergraduate research assignments. Many of the research sources you will use for your college research will probably be secondary sources. However, remember that you must evaluate both primary and secondary sources carefully to determine if they are reputable and acceptable for your college papers. 4.2 Types of Research Sources In the sixth edition of its style guide, the American Psychological Association (APA) divides research sources into the following 11 categories (American Psychological Association, 2010): • • • • • • • • • • • Periodicals Books, Reference Books, and Book Chapters Technical and Research Reports Meetings and Symposia Doctoral Dissertations and Master’s Theses Reviews and Peer Commentary Audiovisual Media Data Sets, Software, Measurement Instruments, and Apparatus Unpublished Works and Informally Published Works Archival Documents and Collections Internet Message Boards, Electronic Mailing Lists, and Other Online Communities Let us examine each category and discuss the types of sources you might find in each. These sources may be primary or secondary research materials. Periodicals The term periodical refers to any publication that appears periodically, or at regular intervals, such as daily, weekly, monthly, bimonthly, semiannually, or annually. Each issue of a periodical usually contains separate articles or writings. Some common periodicals are discussed below. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 44 7/7/10 3:47 PM Scholarly Journals Academic subjects are divided into fields of study and then into disciplines within each field. These disciplines are often then divided into subdisciplines, departments, or programs. For example, the academic field of natural sciences is concerned with objects, phenomena, and laws of nature and the physical world, whereas the academic field of social sciences is concerned with the study of human society and the relationships of individuals to that society. Figures 4.2 and 4.3 illustrate these two academic fields and some of their disciplines and subdisciplines. Academic or scholarly journals are publications written by scholars or researchers in a particular field or discipline. The main purpose of scholarly journals is either to report original research and communicate this information to the rest of the scholarly world (CalPoly, 2008) or to discuss current research or issues in the field or discipline. Some journals publish original research studies. The information in these journals consists of research studies that have an introduction, methodology section, results section, and bibliography or reference list. Other journals publish articles that review these research studies and their implications or discuss issues. These “discussion” journals are generally written in narrative or prose style and interpret or discuss primary research studies. Journals often contain graphs, charts, tables, and drawings, but they contain no paid advertising and few, if any, glossy pages or pictures. They usually appear no more than four times a year, and they are divided into volumes (usually annually) and issues (often quarterly). Sometimes each volume is paginated separately; at other times, the issues that comprise an annual volume are paginated consecutively, so the page numbers for each issue begin where the previous issue for that year left off. Scholarly journals always cite their sources in the form of footnotes, endnotes, and parenthetical references and include an alphabetical bibliography, list of works cited, or reference list, at the end of each article. They are excellent sources for your academic research. Scholarly journals often require writers to prepare an abstract, or summary, of the research study or article submitted. And, although it is preferable to cite the text of a journal article itself, abstracts can also be cited as sources for your research. Many scholarly journals are published by professional organizations such as research organizations or public and private “think tanks” of scholars and researchers. Think tanks are bodies of experts in specialized fields that conduct research, usually on specific political, economic, or social issues. They may provide advice and ideas on these issues, based on the data they collect, but they do not usually take a position on the issue. Scholarly journals are almost always reputable sources because they have strict guidelines for publication of research studies and articles, and the material they publish is reviewed and edited carefully before it is published. Some journals, called peer-reviewed or refereed journals, require that all articles or papers be critically reviewed by other scholars in the field before they are accepted for publication in the journal. These reviews help ensure that the information is accurate and represents solid scholarship (CalPoly, 2008). Peer-reviewed, or refereed, journals are the most reliable publications you can find about current work in a field or discipline, and they are excellent sources for your academic research. If you want the most scholarly work on a subject, you can refer to the publisher’s Web site to see if a journal is peer reviewed, or on most Ashford Library databases, you can click “advanced search” or “refine search” and limit your research to only peer-reviewed journals. See Table 4.3 for examples and descriptions of some scholarly journals. Magazines The term magazine refers to a broad group of periodicals that contain anything from reputable scholarly works to the latest Hollywood gossip. They may be published weekly, monthly, bimonthly, or semiannually and be written by scholars, members of the editorial staff, or freelance writers. Many are very attractive soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 45 7/7/10 3:47 PM Natural Sciences Space Sciences Biological Sciences Astronomy Physiology Astrophysics Ecology Astrobiology Biology Cellular Biology Molecular Biology Marine Biology Microbiology Anatomy Chemistry Physics Organic Chemistry Quantum Mechanics Inorganic Chemistry Theoretical Physics Physical Chemistry Applied Physics Quantum Chemistry Optics and Photonics Earth Sciences Fiber-Optic Technology Geology Microscopy Hydrology Refractometry Meteorology Geography Oceanography Soil Science Figure 4.2 Natural Science Fields: Disciplines and Subdisciplines Source: Adapted from U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health Mesh Tree Structures, 2010, at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/2009/mesh_trees/H01.pdf soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 46 7/7/10 3:47 PM Social Sciences Psychology History Clinical Psychology World History Neuropsychology Regional, e.g., U.S. History Cognitive Psychology Social History Counseling Psychology Military History Educational Psychology Industrial Psychology Sociology Political Science Cultural Studies Political Theory Criminology Public Policy Social Psychology National Politics Environmental Sociology International Relations Gender Studies Media Studies Anthropology Physical Anthropology Economics Macroeconomics Cultural Anthropology Inflation & Monetary Policy Linguistic Anthropology Fiscal Policy & Regulation Archaeological Anthropology Microeconomics Applied Anthropology Supply & Demand Public Finance Figure 4.3 Social Science Fields: Disciplines and Subdisciplines Source: Compiled from DMOZ Open Directory Project, 2002, at http://www.dmoz.org/Science/Social_Sciences/ soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 47 7/7/10 3:47 PM Table 4.3 Examples of Scholarly Journals Publications such as those listed below are excellent sources for your academic research. Title Comments American Educational Research Journal Publishes original research studies and analysis on education that represent significant contributions to understanding and improving educational processes and outcomes. The Economic Journal One of the foremost of the learned journals in economics; a general journal with papers that appeal to a broad and global readership interested in economic issues. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Peer-reviewed general medical journal. Publishes original medical research findings and editorial opinions. Journal of Applied Gerontology Publishes research and analysis and articles applicable to health care and quality of life of older persons. Coverage of topics such as caregiving, exercise, physical activity, ethnicity and aging, death and dying, technology, sexuality, housing, long-term care, retirement planning, and mental health. The Journal of Asian Authoritative publication in the field of Asian Studies. Publishes feature articles and book reviews Studies on history, arts, social sciences, philosophy, and contemporary issues of East, South, and Southeast Asia. Journal of Black Studies Leading source for research on the Black experience. Covers a wide range of subject areas including social issues, Afrocentricity, economics, culture, media, literature, language, heritage, and biology. The Journal of Business Analysis of data and practical management strategies, emerging trends, and discussion of concerns faced by the domestic and international business community such as business finance and investment, money and banking, marketing, security markets, business economics, accounting practices, social issues, public policy, management, international trade and finance, and personnel issues. Journal of Clinical Psychology A peer-reviewed journal devoted to research, assessment, and the practice of clinical psychology. Includes news, research studies, and articles on professional issues as well as case studies and reports. Focuses on challenges facing psychotherapists and is written in jargon-free language. The Journal of Finance Publishes leading research across all major fields of financial research. The Journal of Higher Education The leading scholarly journal on higher education. Full-length articles, commentary, and book reviews on issues important to faculty, administrators and program managers. Journal of Marriage and Family Publishes original research and theory, research interpretation and reviews, and critical discussion concerning all aspects of marriage, other forms of close relationships, and families. Psychological Bulletin Published by the American Psychological Association (APA), this journal publishes evaluations, reviews, and interpretations of psychological research. Seeks to summarize past research by drawing overall conclusions from separate investigations and address related or identical hypotheses. Sociology of Education Studies of sociology of education and human social development. Publishes research that examines how social institutions and individuals’ experiences within these institutions affect educational processes and social development. Also examines educational issues throughout the human life cycle. Source: All journal descriptions were adapted from Ashford Online Library JSTOR database or from Web sites of the journals themselves. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 48 7/7/10 3:47 PM publications, with illustrations or photographs; others are published in a newspaper format. Almost all magazines contain advertisements. Below are various types of magazines you will find in your research. Some magazines make excellent secondary sources for academic research; others, as mentioned below, are not acceptable. Keep in mind that none of the lines drawn between different types of magazines is absolute; some magazines cross over these categories. However, one way to determine if a magazine is a reputable source for your college paper is to see whether they say where they obtained the information they present and whether they cite their sources. In general, magazines can be classified into the following categories: • • • • Substantive News and Opinion Magazines: The word substantive means “substantial” or “having a solid base.” The main purpose of a substantive news or opinion magazine is to provide information on current news events and political, economic, or social issues to an audience of educated readers. The publishers do not usually assume that readers have any specialized knowledge, only an interest in the subject matter. Substantive news and opinion magazines may or may not cite their sources. In some instances, their sources may be insiders at government agencies or corporations who wish to remain anonymous. At other times, a magazine “speaks with a collective voice . . . and journalists often co-operate on articles” (“About The Economist,” 2010). Substantive news and opinion magazines are usually published by commercial or news organizations, professional societies, or political or religious groups. They generally make excellent research sources, especially when you are assigned to write argument essays or argumentative research papers. However, the fact that they are called “news magazines” or that they discuss the news does not mean they are objective. Many of these magazines have an editorial bias, which means they are written from a particular point of view. You must be aware of that bias or research the magazine to determine if it is written from a conservative, moderate, or liberal point of view. When you use biased sources for your research, you must find sources with opposing viewpoints to get an objective view of a subject. (We discuss the subject of bias in more detail in Chapter 5.) See Table 4.4 for examples and descriptions of some substantive news and opinion magazines. Business, Professional, and Trade Magazines: Magazines in this category are specialized and cover topics of interest to individuals in specific businesses, professions, industries, and skilled trades. Articles in these magazines are usually written by subject-matter experts in their respective fields or industries, and these magazines generally make excellent sources for your academic research. Of course, you must still consider the point of view of the writer and the publication as you evaluate your research sources. See Table 4.5 for examples and descriptions of some business, professional, and trade magazines. General Interest Magazines: General interest magazines are written to appeal to a wide range of people with varying educational backgrounds. They are often interesting to read because they combine information with entertainment or special features such as humor, cartoons, or puzzles. They are usually published monthly by commercial enterprises or individuals and cover a wide range of topics in short articles, typically about three pages in length, written by in-house staff or by outside freelance authors. These magazines are generally quite attractive in appearance, and articles are often illustrated with photographs. They also carry advertisements and are usually printed on glossy paper. General interest magazines sometimes cite their sources, although, more often, they do not. The main purpose of periodicals in this category is to provide information, in a general manner, to an audience interested in their specific areas of editorial focus. These magazines may occasionally be used as supplemental sources for your research papers; however, they should not constitute your principal sources. See Table 4.6 for some examples and descriptions of some common general interest magazines. Popular Magazines: Popular periodicals are usually slick and attractive, with many photographs. Articles in these magazines are usually short, with little depth, and they are written in simple language. The word popular means “reflecting the tastes or interests of the people,” and these magazines cover issues of popular culture such as sports, beauty, parenting, and celebrity. Their main purpose it to entertain readers, to sell products, and/or to promote a viewpoint. Popular periodicals rarely cite their sources, and they are generally not acceptable as sources for your college papers. See Table 4.7 for examples and descriptions of some popular magazines. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 49 7/7/10 3:47 PM Table 4.4 Examples of Substantive News and Opinion Magazines Publications such as those listed below make excellent sources for your academic research, but be aware of editorial bias. Title Web Site Comments The American Conservative http://www.amconmag.com/ Conservative viewpoint on news and political issues. The American Prospect http://www.prospect.org/ Liberal/progressive viewpoint on news and political issues. Atlantic Monthly http://www.theatlantic.com/ General editorial magazine; articles on political, business, and social and cultural issues in the United States and internationally. The Economist http://www.economist.com/ In-depth analysis and opinion of world political, business, and cultural issues; economic events; and current affairs. (Calls itself a newspaper, but publication is formatted like a magazine.) Foreign Affairs http://www.foreignaffairs.com/ Publishes a wide range of viewpoints on U.S. policy, politics and society, the environment, laws and institutions. Harvard International Review http://hir.harvard.edu/ Topics, analysis, and discussion of issues in international affairs. Aims to make scholarly material accessible to a wider audience of academic and lay readers and to provide a forum for academic debate. Liberty http://libertyunbound.com/ Libertarian viewpoint on news and current events, as well as a national journal of libertarian opinion and intellectual exploration of economic, political, historical, and literary thought. Monthly Review http://www.monthlyreview.org/ Socialist viewpoint on news and political issues. Mother Jones http://motherjones.com/ Liberal/progressive viewpoint; investigates political issues, current events, and issues of social justice, the environment, health, media, and culture. The New Republic http://www.tnr.com/ Analysis of public affairs and emerging issues ranging from energy to the environment, fiscal policy, arts, and culture, and literary criticism. Time News and analysis of national and international, business, technology, health, arts, and travel issues. U.S. News and World Report http://www.usnews.com/ News and analysis of national and international health, money, education, science, travel, and education issues. World Magazine http://www.worldmag.com/index.cfm Articles on current events from a conservative Christian viewpoint. Source: All magazine descriptions were developed on or adapted from Web sites of the magazines themselves. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 50 7/7/10 3:47 PM Table 4.5 Examples of Business, Professional, and Trade Magazines These publications generally make excellent sources for your academic research. Title Web Site Comments ABA Journal http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/ Published by the American Bar Association, this magazine covers trends, people, and finances of the legal profession. Automotive Intelligence http://www.autointell.com/ Information and news for automotive business professionals. Includes company profiles, marketing and sales data, and information on industry trends. BusinessWeek http://www.businessweek.com/ Published by Bloomberg, a global news and media company, this magazine provides business and financial professionals with information on issues of finance, technology, business management, and innovation. Entrepreneur http://www.entrepreneur.com/ Articles and resources for self-employed business owners. Topics cover marketing and sales, management, human resources, technology, and life–work balance. Fast Company http://www.fastcompany.com/ Magazine for business leaders that focuses on technology, design, innovation, and best and “next” practices. Financial Times http://www.ft.com/home/us Published in London, this magazine provides news, comment, and analysis for the global business community. It is a leading publication on international business, finance, politics, and economics. Forbes http://www.forbes.com/ This magazine publishes business and financial news, stock market analysis, and discussion of personal finance and technology for business leaders. Fortune http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/ This magazine publishes business and financial news. It is especially known for its researched and ranked list of companies such as the Fortune 500 and the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. IndustryWeek http://www.industryweek.com/ Published for senior-level managers in manufacturing companies. Issues covered include trends, technologies, and management strategies. InfoWorld http://www.infoworld.com/ Leading resource for information technology managers concerning new technology and emerging issues. Source:All magazine descriptions were developed on or adapted from the Web sites of these magazines. • Sensational Magazines: Sensational magazines come in a variety of formats, but they are generally large in size and thin in content. They are also referred to as tabloids. Sensational magazines may have many photographs, but these photos are often grainy or slightly out of focus because they were taken without the subject’s knowledge by paparazzi, freelance photographers who pursue celebrities to obtain photographs they later sell to magazines and newspapers. The purpose of sensational magazines is to entertain readers, and these magazines like to arouse curiosity and create a “buzz” with outrageous headlines and fantastic claims such as, “Aliens Land in New York.” Sensational magazines contain very few articles or stories and plenty of gossip, unsubstantiated rumors, and stories that are not factual. Because much of the material in these magazines is inaccurate and unreliable, sensational magazines are never acceptable as sources for your college papers. See Table 4.8 for examples and descriptions of some common sensational magazines. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 51 7/7/10 3:47 PM Table 4.6 Examples of General Interest Magazines These magazines may occasionally be used as supplemental research sources; however, they should not be your principal sources. Title Web Site Comments Harper’s http://www.harpers.org/ Emphasis on fine writing and original essays, fiction, and reporting on society, the environment, the culture, and politics. Life http://www.life.com/ Monthly magazine of photographs and articles regarding news events, celebrities, travel, animals, and sports. National Geographic http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ Published by the National Geographic Society, one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world. It publishes articles on geography, archaeology, natural science, and the promotion of environmental and historical conservation. Beautifully illustrated, the magazine also includes some of the world’s highest quality photojournalism. The New York Times Magazine www.nytimes.com/pages/magazine The Sunday New York Times magazine. Publishes articles and opinion on a wide range of subjects such as business, technology, science, health, sports, travel, style, and the arts. The New Yorker www.newyorker.com Published since 1925, this magazine combines literary articles and comments on arts and culture, fiction and poetry, essays, and humor. Parade Magazine www.parade.com Sunday supplement in many newspapers, this weekly magazine, published on newsprint, covers topics such as American lifestyle, health, food, and celebrities. Reader’s Digest http://www.rd.com/ Geared for a general audience, this magazine reprints articles on a wide range of topics such as food, health, family travel, money management, household organization and cleaning, and holidays and includes entertaining jokes and games. USA Weekend www.usaweekend.com Competitor to Parade Magazine, a Sunday supplement in many newspapers. Publishes articles on home, lifestyle, health, entertainment, money, and travel. Vital Speeches of the Day http://www.vsotd.com/ Models of effective speeches by business, political, education, and government leaders who provide analysis of public issues. Source:All magazine descriptions were developed on or adapted from Web sites of these magazines. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 52 7/7/10 3:47 PM Table 4.7 Examples of Popular Magazines These magazines are generally not acceptable as sources for your college papers. Title Web Site Comments Better Homes and Garden http://www.bhg.com/ Magazine covers home decorating and remodeling, food and recipes, gardening, home improvements, and craft ideas. Glamour http://www.glamour.com/ Publication targets women and contains articles on fashion; beauty; sex, love, and life; weddings; and health and fitness. Good Housekeeping http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/ Offers advice regarding food, diet and nutrition, women’s health, and home decorating and décor. O, The Oprah Magazine http://www.oprah.com/omagazine.html Articles on subjects such as health, style, relationships, spiritual issues, food, entertainment, and money management. Parents http://www.parents.com/ Issues cover pregnancy, babies, baby names, toddlers and preschoolers, food and recipes, and ideas for family fun. People http://www.people.com/people/ News and photographs of celebrities and other prominent people in the news. Issues cover the latest headlines, style, recent awards shows or other events, and children of celebrities. Playboy http://www.playboy.com/ Men’s magazine promoting sex, women posing nude or in sexy positions, entertainment, and nightlife. Sports Illustrated http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/ Covers all types of college and professional sports including teams, rosters, scores, standings, and breaking news. Woman’s Day http://www.womansday.com/ Women’s magazine that contains money-saving tips, recipes, home improvement ideas, crafts, and articles on health, money, and style. Source:All magazine descriptions were developed or adapted from the Web sites of these magazines. Table 4.8 Examples of Sensational Magazines These magazines are never acceptable as sources for your college papers. Title Web Site Comments Globe http://www.globemagazine.com/ Celebrities, photos, and “news.” National Enquirer http://www.nationalenquirer.com/ Celebrity “news,” photos, crime stories, and gossip. Star http://www.starmagazine.com/ Celebrity fashion, news, and gossip. Weekly World News http://weeklyworldnews.com/ Discussions of alien visits, UFO activity, Bigfoot sightings, and secret scientific experiments. Source:All magazine descriptions were developed or adapted from Web sites of these magazines. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 53 7/7/10 3:47 PM Newspapers Newspapers are periodicals, published on a regular schedule, that contain news, information, and advertising. They are usually printed on newsprint, an inexpensive absorbent paper used almost exclusively for this purpose. Most newspapers are general-interest publications that publish local, regional, or national news about current events and political issues and information about personalities, crime, business, society, and sports. Most also have an editorial bias that affects the stories they choose to cover and may affect the aspects of the story they emphasize. However, they generally present factual information and, thus, newspaper articles are generally acceptable sources for your college research papers. When you are writing about major events that may have been widely reported, you may want to check the Web site www.newseum.com to read different reports of the same event. The Newseum is a news museum adjacent to the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC, that maintains a Web site of the front pages of more than 700 newspapers in the United States and around the world, including 80 foreign countries, and is updated daily. Often, you can go to the Web site of the newspaper itself and read the entire news story. The Newseum Web site also archives newspaper front pages pertaining to major historical world and national events over the past seven years. The Newseum site has been named one of 30 “outstanding reference sites on the World Wide Web” by the American Library Association (“Front Pages Exhibit,” 2010). Other Web sites on this list are discussed later in this chapter under “The Internet.” Many newspapers also contain an editorial page, where (usually unsigned) articles are written by members of the newspaper’s editorial board or staff and express opinions that conform to the editorial viewpoint of the publisher. The newspaper may also have an op-ed page, which contains articles and columns written by named writers who express personal opinions on issues. Some op-ed writers are local individuals who write the newspaper to express their views on a topic reported in the paper; other op-ed pieces are written by syndicated columnists who voice their viewpoints on topics of current interest. Syndicated op-ed articles and columns, such as those of advice columnist Jeanne Phillips (“Dear Abby”), humor columnist Dave Barry, storyteller Garrison Keillor, and political commentator Charles Krauthammer are often published in numerous newspapers simultaneously. When using newspaper editorials and op-ed articles or columns for research, remember that they represent personal opinion, not factual information, and you must evaluate the credibility of the person whose opinion is represented in these articles and columns. (We discuss factual information versus opinion and issues of credibility in Chapter 5.) Books, Reference Books, and Book Chapters In addition to periodicals, books can also be valuable research sources. Books can be classified generally as either fiction or nonfiction. Fiction books are untrue or fantasy, although they may be based on actual events that have been dramatized or embellished in some way. Fiction books are usually written for entertainment or social commentary, and they may be categorized by literary genre, or the class of writing to which they belong such as novels, short stories, or poetry. Fiction books are not acceptable sources for academic research. Nonfiction books, on the other hand, are classified as the branch of literature that deals with information presented as fact or with opinion and conjecture based upon facts and reality (“Non-Fiction,” 2010). Nonfiction books include narrative prose such as biographies, history books, and essays, as well as first-person autobiographies, reference works, encyclopedia, and how-to manuals. It is important to remember that not all nonfiction books are true. A biography written by an author about someone else represents only the writer’s perspective on that person. The writer may have done research about the person being presented in the book; however, all the research sources that writer used may not have been accurate or reliable. The book might also have been published by a biased source and edited to reflect the editor’s bias. It is always important to look for different viewpoints on subjects you choose to research. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 54 7/7/10 3:47 PM In an earlier chapter, we discussed the fact that nonfiction reference books such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are not acceptable college research sources. However, they can make excellent sources for background information on a topic and help you understand topics or terms that you might not be familiar with. Other reference books such as textbooks or history books, as well as other nonfiction books, may make excellent research sources. Also, when a researcher conducts numerous research studies on a topic and is able to draw some definitive conclusions from the work, he or she may compile information from the research and publish it in book form. At other times, authors may publish nonfiction books that explain the research process they undertook that led to a significant discovery. One example of such a book is The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA written by James D. Watson to describe how he and fellow scientist Francis Crick discovered the structure of the DNA molecule. Another example, The Soul of a New Machine, written by former Atlantic Monthly journalist Tracy Kidder, chronicles the efforts of engineers to create a new supercomputer. Both books are fascinating reading, in addition to being good research sources. One drawback of books is that it takes some time for books to be written, edited, and published, so the book may not represent the most current information about a specific topic. Additionally, you must evaluate the credibility of the writer, the publisher, and the nonfiction book itself to determine if it would make a good source for academic research. Technical and Research Reports Besides some periodicals and nonfiction books, technical and research reports often make excellent college research sources. These reports may be official documents produced by government agencies, or they may be authoritative reports that have been heavily researched and produced by private organizations, universities, corporations, or individuals. Besides being called a “report,” this type of document may also be referred to as a monograph, a treatise, a working paper, or a white paper. The term monograph is usually used to refer to specialized scientific books on a single topic that are written by specialists in a specific field for other specialists in that field. Monographs are comprehensive works on a single subject, often of book length, and contain comprehensive information and knowledge of a subject (“What Is a Monograph?” 2009). Monographs are directed to specialized researchers; however, you will occasionally find monographs in your research that present important information useful to your research topic. If so, these monographs make excellent academic research sources. A treatise is similar to a monograph. It is a formal specialized discussion of a single topic and is usually written as exposition or argument to explain the principles and facts surrounding a subject. Aristotle’s treatise on rhetoric is an example of this type of work. Treatises are usually very good research sources. Working papers or white papers are other forms of reports that can be excellent research sources. The term working paper is often used to describe a report that is written as a basis for discussion of a subject. It is usually a preliminary scientific or technical report or a preliminary version of a proposed government regulation or policy. Occasionally, authors will release working papers during various stages of a complex project to invite comment and review before finalizing the document or, in the case of scientific subjects, before submitting a final paper to a peer-reviewed journal. See numerous examples of working papers in economics at http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/. (Note: In accounting, the term working paper has a different meaning; it refers to the detailed information and evidence gathered during an audit.) The term white paper is widely used in the fields of politics, business, and technology to refer to reports. In the political realm, a white paper usually outlines a candidate’s position on key issues. In business, white papers are informative reports that outline problems and potential solutions or present the position of an organization on key political or social issues. Finally, in the high-tech arena, the online computer dictionary TechTerms.com defines white paper this way: soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 55 7/7/10 3:47 PM In recent years . . . the IT industry has adopted the term to describe articles that explain a certain technology or product. For example, a company may release a white paper to the public in order to educate consumers about one of their products. The terminology used may be somewhat technical, but the goal of a white paper is usually to describe the technology or product in terms most people can understand. That way nerds don’t get to have all the fun each time a new technology is invented. (“White Paper,” 2010) As you can see, reports come in all sorts of forms and are called by a number of different names. In many instances, however, these reports will be useful documents to provide you with information and data for your college research. However, just because a document claims to be a “report” does not mean it is always an acceptable source. Some “reports” might also be thinly veiled marketing documents, self-serving proposals, or documents whose purpose is to promote the writer’s organization or point of view on a topic. As always, we must examine and evaluate the work itself, the author, and the publisher to determine if the report is from a reputable source and is acceptable as an academic research source. Meetings and Symposia A fourth category of research sources is proceedings of meetings, conferences, or symposia. Proceedings are the written records of topics covered at such events. For example, a state department of agriculture may sponsor a conference regarding new techniques or methods of planting or harvesting crops. The department might invite researchers at agricultural colleges who are studying planting and harvesting methods to submit papers outlining the research they are doing and to present these papers at a statewide conference. After the conference is held, the submitted papers are bound into a book or booklet and distributed to attendees and other interested parties as the proceedings of the conference. Proceedings and other papers contributed to professional conferences or meetings may be published or unpublished and are often good research sources. They can represent some of the most current research on a topic. However, they do not have long life because they are preliminary results and may be superseded by later reports. Doctoral Dissertations and Master’s Theses A fifth category of sources for your academic research is doctoral dissertations and master’s theses. In some colleges and universities, a dissertation or a thesis is required before the doctoral or master’s degree is granted, and the dissertation or thesis represents the culmination of the student’s studies in a particular subject. Some universities require their graduate students to submit a copy of their dissertation or thesis to one of several databases: Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI), Masters Abstracts International (MAI), or ProQuest UMI Dissertation Publishing. The company that owns the database then publishes an abstract of the work. To obtain the dissertation or thesis itself, researchers must usually have the library order it. Because this process is very time consuming, you will most likely not use dissertations and theses in your academic research at Ashford University. However, you may find some abstracts of these academic works in the CredoReference database in the Ashford Online Library. Occasionally, these abstracts may be useful in one of your college research papers. Dissertations and theses are considered good sources for academic research because they are written under the advisement of a committee of advanced professors in the author’s field of study. However, they do not carry the same credibility as research studies published in peer-reviewed journals. Reviews and Peer Commentary Published book, movie, theater, and television reviews are also acceptable sources for academic papers. Many works of literature have been discussed in other books or adapted for film or television. Reviews of the work in other media soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 56 7/7/10 3:47 PM are especially useful sources for papers where you are asked to analyze or interpret these literary works. Remember to check the Ashford Writing Center for guidelines on the format of citations and references for these sources. Audiovisual Media In today’s electronic world, many news and opinion articles that would previously have appeared in print in newspapers and magazines are broadcast on television or radio or produced as a film and often rereleased on audiobooks or as films on DVD. Many of these television and radio programs or movies are of course fictional. However, most local television and radio stations produce news broadcasts and special news programming, and national network television and cable television companies operate their own news divisions and produce a wide range of news and news analysis programming at various times during the day. Both network organizations such as ABC, CBS, and NBC and cable news organizations such as CNN, Fox, and MSNBC also produce special news, news analysis, and public affairs programming. Some of these programs are listed below and make excellent sources for your academic research. Like print publications, most television media has a bias toward a liberal, moderate, or conservative point of view, and it is important to recognize the bias of the program you are viewing. To check the accuracy of information you obtain from these broadcasts, you can often get transcripts, published text, or video clips of specific broadcasts from the program’s Web site. Sunday Morning Talk Shows Face the Nation (CBS) Fox News Sunday (Fox) Meet the Press with David Gregory (NBC/MSNBC) PBS NewsHour (formerly The MacNeil/Lehrer Report) (PBS) State of the Union (CNN) This Week (ABC) Prime-Time and Late-Night News and News Magazine Programs Dateline (NBC) 48 Hours (CBS) Nightline (ABC) Primetime (ABC) 60 Minutes (CBS) 20/20 (ABC) World News Now (ABC) Data Sets, Software, Measurement Instruments, and Apparatus The APA lists raw data and tools that aid researchers in performing tasks such as data analysis or measurement as a category of research materials. This type of data is most commonly used when performing statistical analysis for primary research studies, and you will rarely use these materials in your undergraduate research. However, if you obtain information from raw statistical data or by using specialized computer software, computer languages, or measurement instruments, you may use it as a source. See http://pewhispanic .org/datasets/ for examples of this type of material. Unpublished Works and Informally Published Works Another category of possible research sources are unpublished works, works in progress, and information that has not been formally published but is available on personal or organizational Web sites. You will probably not often encounter information such as this; however, if you do, it might be acceptable as a research source, depending on the credibility of the author of the material. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 57 7/7/10 3:47 PM Archival Documents and Collections This category includes letters and memos; unpublished manuscripts; personal communications; interviews and oral histories; limited-circulation brochures and pamphlets; internal company or government reports or in-house documents, booklets, or brochures; magazine or newspaper clippings; nontext materials such as photographs; or materials that are stored in an archive such as the Archives of the History of American Psychology at the University of Akron or the APA Archives. Works such as these are often acceptable as research sources. However, many of these documents are not retrievable by others, so check the Ashford Writing Center for guidelines on how to cite these materials as sources. Internet Message Boards, Electronic Mailing Lists, and Other Online Communities Our final category of possible research sources is information obtained from sources such as Internet message boards, blogs, newsgroups, online forums, discussion groups, social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn, and electronic mailing lists. APA notes that “the last are often referred to as listservs. However, LISTSERV is a trademarked name for a particular software program; electronic mailing list is the appropriate generic term” (APA, 2010). On occasion, you may find material that would be appropriate for a college research paper. However, generally, you should not use materials from these sources because they may not be retrievable by other researchers and they usually represent the personal viewpoint of people who are not subject-matter experts in the field. 4.3 Locating Sources Now that we have discussed the types of materials you can use as sources for your research, where will you find these sources? You will most likely conduct academic research in three locations: in the Ashford Online Library, on the Internet, and in physical libraries. Let us look at each of these locations, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and the types of materials available at these locations. Ashford Online Library © Corbis/photolibrary The Ashford Online Library should be the first place you search for research materials. When assigned to write a research paper, many students immediately turn to the Internet for information because they are familiar with Web search engines or directories such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or Ask.com. However, using the Internet first for college research is a mistake. While it can be valuable for providing background information and does contain some excellent Web sites, it is not usually the best location for the information you need as sources for your college research papers. The deep web includes information that can only be accessed through a subscription, such as the resources in the Ashford Online Library. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 58 Here is why: When you search for topics on the Web, search engines look only at what is available for free. Often the highest quality and most accurate and relevant information resides in what is called the “invisible Web,” the “hidden Web,” or the “deep Web.” Information on the deep Web is housed primarily in databases such as the ones in the Ashford Online Library. These databases consist of reference materials and passwordprotected databases of journal, magazine, and newspaper articles that are available only by paid subscriptions and licensed to professional researchers, universities, libraries, and individuals who are authorized to use them. They are invisible to the surface Web accessed by search engines. 7/7/10 3:47 PM According to BrightPlanet, a U.S. company that “harvests” the deep Web for the U.S. intelligence community, some studies show that the deep Web is at least 1,000 times larger than the surface Web accessed by search engines (“Understanding the Deep Web,” 2010). New technologies are under development and may extend the reach of search engines in the future (Wright, 2009). However, currently your best way to find these materials is in the Ashford Online Library or by searching specific Web sites that house databases and have their own search engines. Some of these Web sites are discussed below under “The Internet.” What should make the Ashford Online Library your first choice for college research, though, is the type of information housed there. The databases in the Ashford Online Library have been archived by professional information management specialists, and Ashford University professional staff have selected specific databases for the library that are the most appropriate for your college courses. In other words, they are university and faculty approved. These databases contain reference materials; journal, magazine, and newspaper articles; and other documents from reputable sources on topics related to your college courses. They attempt, whenever possible, to obtain the full text of an article. The university pays the annual subscription fees for you to access these materials and, as an Ashford University student, you have free access to these materials through your Student Portal and your online courses. Table 4.9 shows a comparison of materials on the surface Web and those available on the Ashford Online Library databases. Table 4.9 Comparison of the Surface Web and Ashford Online Library Resources The Surface Web Ashford Online Library General; quick and easy for everyday personal searches. Pinpoints information for research and class assignments. Broad sweep of all information openly available online. Search through specific information chosen by librarians, information specialists, and Ashford professionals for course relevance and correlation with academic standards. Information must be evaluated carefully for accuracy and source credibility; may be incomplete, false, or misleading. Information only from prescreened, reputable publications and other sources; consistently reliable and instructor approved. Quality, type, and relevance of information Search results are Web sites, ranked by relevancy determined by the search engine. Search results are ranked in order of relevance by professional researchers and subject experts. Unreliable for invisible or hidden Web information. Accesses hidden Web documents and information housed in proprietary databases available only by subscription. Unreliable for peer-reviewed, refereed, or other scholarly information. Any such information, when available, often requires payment of a fee. Access to peer-reviewed, refereed, and other scholarly information at no cost to students. Links can be out of date or taken from unknown or questionable sources. Accurate; content is reviewed and updated regularly. Content can be posted by anyone for any purpose, without outside review. Content is designed by librarians and end users through advisory boards, interviews, and focused research. Information may be available only as an abstract or a partial article. Access to full-text articles provided, whenever possible, by linking technologies, no matter where the original information resides. Ads and paid links can distract from research. No advertising. Information reflects partnerships with thousands of publishers to ensure that copyrighted newspaper, magazine, and journal content are included in search results. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 59 7/7/10 3:47 PM Organization and searching Provides keyword searching; may have limited sorting of results and may not provide subject categories. Allows natural language searching as well as keyword searching, combination of keyword and subject, and searches by date and by use of wildcards and Boolean operators. May have limited sorting of results. Search options allow for recovery of most recent information and sorting, if desired. Print or cut-and-paste search results. Print or cut-and-paste plus features that assist research such as marking articles, citation models, and “My Research” summaries. Source: Adapted by permission from ProQuest (2007). The Internet The Internet is a global set of interconnected networks that join government, university, and private computers together to form an infrastructure and serve as a repository and a method of transporting data and messages across distances (Slater, 2002). The Internet grew out of the first computer network for the U.S. military, ARPANET, which in 1969 was connected to research centers at the University of California at Los Angeles and the Stanford Research Institute (Federal Communications Commission, 2005). For many years, the Internet was used primarily by the government, academic scholars, and scientists. However, the development of standardized methods of transferring information in the early 1990s provided wide access to the Internet and resulted in development of the World Wide Web and email in the early 1990s (Slater, 2002). When the Internet became accessible to people outside the small community of government and university researchers and scholars, it allowed all of us to enjoy the access to information that was previously available only to a small group of individuals. However, it also opened the door for misuse and the dissemination of inaccurate information. Today, anyone can develop a Web site and post almost anything they want on that site. You can waste a great deal of time trying to wade through false, misleading, and inappropriate information, pop-up advertisements, and pages of irrelevant data trying to find acceptable sources for your research. As we have mentioned in previous chapters, the World Wide Web is a great place to do some preliminary background research to learn more about a potential topic and to discover aspects of the subject you might write about. You can also find some outstanding research materials on the Web, if you know where to look. To help you narrow down your Web searches, here are a few of my favorite search tools and Web sites for finding reputable scholarly information. Google Scholar Google Scholar is a search tool for finding articles as well as information from reputable magazines and scholarly journals that are housed on the Web. You can access this tool by typing http://scholar.google.com/ at the top of your browser screen and searching for your research topic. Google Scholar is part of the surface Web and contains links to publishers and other sources where you can try to access full-text articles. However, full-text articles are often only available for a fee, and they represent only a small fraction of the scholarly publications that exist online (UC Berkeley, 2010). You may, however, find abstracts of scholarly work that you can use for your research papers. ERIC The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is the world’s largest digital library of education information. ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IEDS) of the U.S. Department of Education soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 60 7/7/10 3:47 PM The ERIC Web site searches not only education journals but also journals from other academic fields such as management or social sciences that publish articles relating to education or training in their fields. Additionally, the ERIC database includes information from scholarly organizations, professional associations, research centers, policy organizations, university presses, the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies, state and local agencies, conference papers, research papers, dissertations, and theses (Education Resources Information Center, 2010). © Eric C. Westbrook/photolibrary and is available online at http://www.eric.ed.gov/ at no charge. ERIC provides you with unlimited access to more than 1.3 million journals articles and education-related materials and links to full-text articles, if available. The majority of the journals in ERIC are peer reviewed. Some journal publishers make full-text articles available at no cost through this Web site; however, many are available only for a fee. However, you can use the article abstracts as sources, and you can search the Ashford Online Library databases for the full text of any articles that are not available on the ERIC Web site. As an alternative, at the end of the records found on your Web search, ERIC provides a link to the publisher’s Web site or to libraries that may have the full text (Education Resources Information Center, 2010). The Internet links people from all over the world through the World Wide Web. INFOMINE Scholarly Internet Research Collections Another excellent source for scholarly information on the Internet is the INFOMINE Scholarly Internet Research Collections at University of California, Riverside. These collections can be found at http://infomine .ucr.edu/ and will give you direct links to scholarly sources and articles, with a wide range of search options, along with information about which sources are free and which require a fee for access. ipl2: Information You Can Trust Also check out the ipl2: Information You Can Trust Web site at http://www.ipl.org/ for a wealth of information, data, and reference materials for academic research. This Web site is the result of a merger of the Internet Public Library (IPL) and the Librarians’ Internet Index (LII) in January 2010 and features a searchable, subject-categorized directory of reputable, authoritative Web sites; links to online newspapers and magazines; and a collection of databases with materials on a variety of topics. Be sure to review the “Pathfinders,” a special collection of IPL “Expert Guides” that provide resources for conducting research on specific topics, both online and at your local library. Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center describes itself as a nonpartisan, or objective “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world and does not take positions on policy issues (Pew Research Center, 2010). The research center conducts public opinion polls on issues such as public attitude toward the press, politics, and public policy and social issues and personal attitudes on life; evaluates the performance of the press; conducts original research on the impact of the Internet on society; conducts social science research on aspects of religion in the United States and around the world; maintains a Hispanic Center to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and its impact on the nation; soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 61 7/7/10 3:47 PM and conducts research on American social and demographic trends. Pew Research Center can be accessed directly from the site and is often referenced in other scholarly work. American Library Association Best Free Reference Web Sites Finally, make sure you bookmark this Web site, which contains links and descriptions for the 30 best free reference Web sites for 2010 selected by the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association. These Web sites can provide you with reference materials as well as statistics and data and information for academic and everyday personal research. You can access the site at http://www.ala.org/ala/ mgrps/divs/rusa/sections/mars/marspubs/marsbestfreewebsites/marsbestfree2010.cfm, view additional lists of excellent Web sources on the 2009 best sites at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rusa/sections/mars/ marspubs/marsbestfreewebsites/marsbestfree2009.cfm, and see an alphabetical list of all Web sites chosen from 1999 to 2008 at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rusa/sections/mars/marspubs/marsbestindex.cfm. The sources mentioned above can help you find materials on the Web that are acceptable for your academic research. However, remember that you must evaluate all Web sites and materials you retrieve from them to ensure that they are accurate and appropriate for your college research papers. In Chapter 5, we discuss in more detail how to evaluate these sources and minimize chances of retrieving and using data and information that is not suitable for academic research. Physical Libraries In these days of electronic access to information, we sometimes forget about or ignore physical libraries. If you are fortunate to live close enough to the Ashford University campus in Clinton, Iowa, as an Ashford student, you have access to the wide range of materials and library services available on the Ashford University campus. If not, make sure you check the resources available to you through your local community libraries. If you have not visited your town library recently, you may be surprised by what you find. © Ryan McVay/Valuline/Thinkstock Today’s public libraries are a far cry from the fictional libraries depicted in old movies with dust-covered shelves of out-of-date classic books. Most local libraries, even those in small, rural communities, have a good selection of current books on a wide range of topics, along with the latest technology and on-ground and electronic access to huge collections of information and data. They also have materials you would have difficulty locating anywhere else that can be excellent sources for your academic research. Some of these materials are listed below. Even in physical libraries, searching is now done on computers. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 62 Public libraries today also often have electronic card catalogs that are searchable on the library’s Web sites. You can access the card catalog on the library’s computers or on your home computer through the library’s Web site. If you have a library card, you can often reserve books and obtain copies of articles you need online, as well as search large electronic databases of fulltext magazines, newspapers, and journals, many of which are available only to libraries on a subscription basis. Most libraries also belong to regional library systems. If they do not have the materials you need on hand, they can often obtain them through interlibrary loans from other libraries in the system; however, you must request these materials early in your Ashford University courses to make sure you have them in time to be useful to you for your course papers. 7/7/10 3:47 PM Be sure to take advantage of these materials for your academic research. Also make sure you take advantage of the expertise of your university or local librarians and staff. They specialize in finding information and are experts in research methods. They can help you access some of the following information common in your university or public library: • • • • • • • • • • • • • Access to information in private libraries, public university libraries, county law libraries, and national libraries such as the Library of Congress Reference books such as specialized encyclopedia, biographical indexes, dictionaries, and atlases for ideas and background information Specialized indexes and bibliographies to help locate book and articles Electronic databases that may not be available on the Ashford Online Library Downloadable digital books and audiobooks Consumer research information and access to government Web sites for additional consumer and market research data Links to local, county, state, national, and international newspapers and magazines, including historical archives such as the New York Times archives from 1857 to the present Statistical data regarding your city, county, and state, including census data concerning populations and their ages, income, and education and information regarding community land use, transportation systems, education, and tourism Chamber of commerce and business and economic information on your local area Nationwide directories of businesses, associations, manufacturers, and other types of businesses and industries Genealogical databases to trace family origins Literary resources, including critical analyses of literary works and author biographies from different ages and literary disciplines Historical information from museums, local historical societies, community archives, and local chambers of commerce 4.4 Summary When scholars and scientists conduct research, they collect data, or facts and numbers, about an event. They then interpret, analyze, and evaluate this data to form meaningful information that they report as their research findings or results. Based on these results and the researcher’s own knowledge and experience, he or she forms conclusions that add to our body of knowledge about a subject. As a researcher yourself, you must find credible, or trustworthy, information that is supported by sound evidence, the facts and data that researchers used to form their conclusions. It is this information that you report in your research papers. Credible information can be found in both primary and secondary research sources. The American Psychological Association (APA) classifies these sources into 11 different categories. As a researcher, it is important that you recognize the types of sources you find in your research and understand whether the sources you found are acceptable for your college papers. The Ashford Online Library should be the first location you check for acceptable research sources. However, some excellent information can also be found on the Web, if you know where to look. Finally, do not forget the Ashford on-ground library or your local library for good college research sources and take advantage of the expertise of the librarians who can help you with your research assignments. soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 63 7/7/10 3:47 PM soL82373_04_c04_p041-064.indd 64 7/7/10 3:47 PM ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/16/2011 for the course ENG 122 ENG 122 taught by Professor Jessicaheld during the Fall '10 term at Ashford University.

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