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IAT 309W: Library research guide

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This website is intended to help you complete your course assignments in IAT 309W.

Slides from topic and research presentation

We're here to help!

If you need help, please contact Adena Brons, Liaison Librarian at 778-782-7588 or abrons@sfu.ca or Ask a librarian.

Understanding your topic with background reading

Using subject specific encyclopedias, you can often find comprehensive summaries of your topic. This often gives you a good foundation from which to do further research, which can be hard to find elsewhere.

Search across many encyclopedias or try more SIAT-specific background sources.

About Wikipedia - be cautious of its reliability. Confirm the information against other sources, as anyone can change Wikipedia articles at any time (example). However, the references section of Wikipedia articles can be useful; also the links section.

Finding articles

Articles are generally more specific than books and tend to focus on a certain aspect of a topic. Citations for articles (i.e. article title, author, journal name, etc.) can be found in article indexes and databases, often along with the full-text of the article.

Here's a list of databases you could try for your assignments:

Multidisciplinary databases

  • Academic Search Premier
    Includes articles from a range of academic journals and popular magazines. Covers a broad range of topics.

  • Google Scholar
    Google Scholar enables you to search for scholarly literature, from broad areas of research though mostly in the science and technology fields. Searching is not as focused as in the other article databases.

  • Sociological Abstracts
    Academic content (articles, book chapters, etc.) related to the study of society. 

  • Web of Science
    Articles from scholarly journals in scientific fields.

  • Humanities and Social Sciences Abstracts
    Includes articles from a wide range of academic journals in the social sciences and humanities. Good for almost any topic.

  • Science Indexes
    Articles from scholarly journals and popular magazines on a wide range of science topics.

  • CBCA Complete
    Articles from Canadian sources, including some scholarly journals, business magazines, and popular news magazines and newspapers. Good for learning about the 'Canadian' angle to any question.

Subject-specific databasesmonkey with magnifying glass

  • PsycINFO
    Scholarly articles from psychology journals. Good for any topic with a psychology angle.

  • Communication & Mass Media Complete
    Scholarly journal articles from the fields of communications, mass media, linguistics and film.

  • Design and Applied Arts Index (DAAI)
    DAAI covers both new designers and the development of design and the applied arts since the mid-19th century. Includes articles, topical news items, conference and seminar reports, and book, video and exhibition reviews.

  • Education Source
    Education and education-related journal articles.

  • ACM Digital Library
    Academic articles from the Association for Computing Machinery. Mostly "hard-core" computer science, but some material on computing & society.

  • CINAHL Complete
    Scholarly and magazine articles on a wide range of health topics.

  • Business Source Complete
    Articles from over 3700 business journals in all business areas, at least 1000 of which are scholarly/peer-reviewed.

If you're unsure about where to search or how to find full-text copies of the articles you want, ask a librarian! We help students with this all the time.

Evaluating your sourceseyeglassess

The quality of your assignment will depend on the quality of your sources. That's one good reason to think critically about the sources you use.

It's important to understand the difference between scholarly journals and popular ones. You can find a good comparison of scholarly journals, magazines, and trade publications on the Library's guide What is a scholarly (or peer-reviewed) journal?

To find out more information on the peer review process and what makes a journal and a journal article peer-reviewed, take a look at the Library guide What is a peer-reviewed journal?

You can find a good list of questions to help you evaluate the reliability of websites on our guide to Finding and evaluating resources on the web.

Help with writing your paper

The Student Learning Commons has peer tutors available to help with writing your paper. You can either drop-in or make an appointment. There are locations at all three campuses; the Surrey location is in the Library, in room 3695.

Citing your sources

It's important to cite your sources, so that:people in a circle

  • Your reader can locate the sources you used for your paper

  • You give credit to the people whose research and ideas you used in your paper

Using the APA style:

Remember you also need to cite videos, images, and other media that you use.

Writing an annotated bibliography:

 

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