Learn the Library
What is out there?
The library has Research Guides for all disciplines and even for many classes! Spend time exploring the Research Guide related to your subject. It will give links to many resources for your research.
There are many different resources that can help at different points of your work. Would it be best to start looking for books, journal articles, or others? See below.
Do you need scholarly or popular materials? Has your instructor asked for "peer-reviewed" articles?
Types of Sources
- Trade Publications
- Conference Proceedings
- Social Media
- a comprehensive view of a topic
- writing by credible authors
- work that has gone through and editing and review process
- access to subject-specific resources including scholarly articles; searches across many (even into the 100's) journal titles
- options to filter/limit search criteria
- tools for research chaining (links: subject, author, etc.)
- shorter topical articles
- appeal to the general public
- glossy pictures and graphics
- often no references
Scholarly & Peer Reviewed Journals offer:
- research articles and studies written by experts
- peer-reviewed: work that has been vetted by a committee of experts in the field
- in-depth and subject specific information
- long articles with references, abstracts, literature reviews, methodology, etc.
Trade Publications offer:
- news and reports, forecasts, and reviews from a specific industry or profession
- may provide highly specialized information and statistics
- frequently used in areas like business and law
Conference proceedings are oral presentations, posters and papers on a specific topic, often related to a professional or personal interest association. Conference proceedings are often scholarly in nature, but not always. It is common for research results to be in-progress or not yet completed. As they are not published in traditionally scholarly means, we call this type of resource "grey literature".
Social Media offers a place where information is shared, curated, and disseminated by experts, scholars and laypersons. Almost anyone with an internet connection can participate in social media, and can participate in sharing thoughts and opinions through forums, chats, direct messages, photos, videos, "liking", re-tweeting etc. Issues with social media include: digital divide, censorship, bias, accuracy and authority of information, privacy in exchange for participation, and author credit (re-tweeting versus copying and pasting).
Scholarly or Popular
|Peer Review||Trade Publications / Experts|
You may be asked to consult a peer-reviewed journal or use refereed papers for your assignments. Not all scholarly journals participate in a peer-review process, which is a way publishers ensure articles meet the standards of their journal. A peer reviewed paper is submitted and a panel of experts (often calls go out to individuals in the field) read and critique the piece. Any suggestions, errors, omissions or problematic aspects identified by the reviewers are provided in comments to the authors and a paper is either rejected, accepted, or accepted with revisions. To avoid bias, peer-review is done best in a blinded way so that both the author and the peer-reviewers have their personal and institutional information stripped so that it is unknown who either party is.
To determine if a journal participates in peer-review, check the "About" or "Information for Authors" sections where that will be explained. It is common for peer-reviewed journals to have certain categories where peer-review occurs (research and review papers ets), and others (like letters, opinion, product summaries etc) where it doesn't. You can also use the Ulrich database to get a quick sense as to whether a journal is refereed.
What is background research?
When starting to write on a new topic, you may need to learn basic information about the topic to get started.
Wikipedia and Google are common first steps, but the library also provides many encyclopedias and dictionaries which can often be more reliable and authoritative.
Explore these resources in more depth at the Reference Tools guide.
- Last Updated: Dec 4, 2020 12:18 PM
- URL: https://library.ucalgary.ca/guides/learnthelibrary
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