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ENGLISH 2CR3 - Shakespeare

Why Use Articles?

Articles are a great resource to use when you need to find a more current perspective on your topic. They are useful as articles commonly focus on one aspect of a broader subject and as a result are more specialized in topic.

Searching Databases

The goal of a successful search is to retrieve all of the information relevant to a research question without retrieving irrelevant information. This requires creating an effective search string.

1. Identify main concepts from the research question.

2. Brainstorm alternative words and phrases.

3. Create search strings using Boolean Operators.

Boolean Operators  AND is also implied by a blank space between words. E.G. Geriatric AND Driving. Results will contain both the  words “geriatric” and “driving.” OR E.G. Geriatric OR Elderly. Results will contain one or more of the words “elderly” or “geriatric.” NOT E.G. Elderly NOT “Middle Aged.” Results won’t contain the search term “middle aged.”

There are so many databases to choose from! This video outlines how to decide which you should use.(2:20)

Transcript (PDF) | Transcript (.docx)

Finding Articles

Where are articles located?  Step 1: Catalogue. The catalogue is a searchable list of all of the library’s resources. Think of it like Google, but limited to what the library can access (library.mcmaster.ca).  Step 2: Databases. Listed in the catalogue are databases. Databases contain information including but not limited to abstracts, conference proceedings, journals, and various media. The library spends millions of dollars every year to provide access to databases. Using the catalogue, search for databases by name, and then search for your articles within the database. You can also search by journal name. Off campus? Use your MacID to enter databases.  Step 3: Journals. Academic journals, like magazines, used to arrive every month in the mail. Now, most are available online. Journals usually publish scholarship relating to one particular academic discipline. Typical content includes original research, review articles, and book reviews. Many, but not all, academic journals use the peer review process to determine what they publish.  Step 4: Articles. Many articles will have an abstract that you can read to determine if they are useful. In some databases, look for a PDF button to read the article.  To conclude, a metaphor: Each step described above is, in a way, a container. The catalogue ‘contains’ links to databases, the databases contain the journals (or links to them), and the journals contain the articles.

You need journal articles for your essay? Watch this video to learn how to access them online. (5:07)

Transcript (PDF) | Transcript (.docx)

Reading scholarly papers. To start, read the IMRD.  I – Introduction: Creates interest, provides enough information for basic understanding of the article & provides focus  M – Methods: Details the experiments done to answer the question in the Introduction, technical language, & provides a high level of detail R – Results: Statements of what was found by the experiments D – Discussion: Provides clear answer to the question posed in the Introduction & explains how the results support the conclusion.   Read the article twice.  1st reading: Re-read the Abstract and the Introduction again. Skim the methods section. Read the results section. Read the discussion section thoroughly. Study the charts, figures and tables.  2nd reading: Skim the entire article – start to finish, maybe several times! Highlight words you don’t know. Underline key points. Make note of questions or ideas.  Read critically: Are the authors attempting to solve the right problem? What are the limitations of the solution/methodology/conclusion? Are the assumptions reasonable? Is the logic clear? Was the correct data gathered? Was their interpretation reasonable? Read creatively: What are the good ideas in the paper? Are there other applications that the authors hadn’t thought about? Are there improvements to the paper that might make important differences? If this was your launching point, what is the next thing you’d do?

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