Now that you have
a list of possible sources, what do you do with them?
First, you need to decide which sources to pursue further:
1. Look at the book/article title and the source.
Often the title gives you a relatively clear idea of the
contents, particularly for articles published in scholarly journals.
- The source typically tells you something about the type
of information, and possibly its reliability. In addition to books,
you'll find 3 basic types of periodicals:
- Scholarly journals publish original research and articles
reviewed by experts in the field; the audience for these journals
is typically other experts and researchers in the field.
- Trade and business journals focus on the latest news,
technologies, and issues for specific fields. The audience for
these journals are typically practicing professionals.
General-interest magazines and newspapers report information
for the general public, so information found here is usually
less technical and less detailed. If you are dealing with
an unfamiliar topic, general-interest publications often provide
a useful starting point because they explain information in
If you're not sure what category the source falls into, ask a
Use this information as a "first pass" to decide whether
or not you have a credible source with information relevant to your
2. Look at the abstract or full text if the database provides it.
In our sample search, InfoTrac provides two types of links:
- text and retrieval choices means that the full text of
the article is available online
- abstract and retrieval choices means that you can view
only the abstract; to see the entire article you'll probably need
to go to the library.
Quickly skim the abstract and/or article to decide whether or not
it is relevant; if it is, you can mark
it for later reference.
Different databases offer different options, so take a moment to familiarize
yourself with what's available. Using your time online effectively now
will help you locate relevant information more efficiently in the long
Exercise 5 : Briefly evaluate two
sources you found in your search.
(This evaluation should help you prepare the Annotated Bibliography
required for your major project.)
If you worked through the practice search on "human genome AND
ethics," consider the sample evaluation
of two sources.
1. If you haven't already done so, use InfoTrac's Expanded Academic
ASAP collection to search for information on your research topic.
2. Evaluate the results of your search and mark
the citations you think are relevant to your project.
3. Email the marked list (citations and abstracts only) to yourself.
4. Forward a copy of the email to your instructor.
Searching a Discipline-Specific