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FTS: Other Lives, Other Perspectives: Research Tips

Welcome to the Library

Libraries, in many ways, are places designed to help you experience other lives and other perspectives. Rather than provide answers, libraries provide multiple perspectives on many topics with the belief that information helps people make up their own minds.

As part of our commitment to making the diversity of experiences visible, we have a bookshelf where we place new books about diversity. We also have created guides to information on topics in the news and on our minds. 

In the Reference Collection

Finding Sources for Your Topic

studying

image courtesy of tripu

Use the Books tab on the library's main page to search for books by topic, author, or title.

  • Location tells you what section of the library a book is in (general collection is both upstairs or on the main floor)
  • Call number tells where exactly the book is shelved
  • Status tells whether the book is on the shelf or checked out

Once you have a few promising call numbers written down, browse the shelves to find more.

Use the Articles tab on the library's main page to search for articles. The first link - also linked below - is a good all-purpose place to start.

Zoom In

When searching, you can limit results a number of ways.

  • For books, limiting by date of publication can help you find the most current information. You can also limit a search by format (DVD) or collection (general, Audio-Visual, Children's Literature)
  • For articles, you can limit by date, limit to scholarly journals, or limit by type of publication (newspaper, magazine, journal).

Informative Websites

A Google search on a topic can result in a deluge of mixed information - Wikipedia articles, commercial sites, Twitter accounts, newspaper articles, and advocacy organizations. Some of these may be useful primary sources - Unicorn Riot is reporting live from the NoDAPL protests in North Dakota. But they can be hard to sort out and need a critical eye. For example, if you were to use a film clip from Unicorn Riot, you would need to find out who they are, what their purpose is, and what other perspectives may be held about the issues they are covering.

Some useful Google hacks:

Limit a search by date - click on search tools - any time

Limit a search to government sources - add site:.gov after your search terms

These sites may be particularly useful for research.

Librarian

Barbara Fister
Contact:
I'm happy to meet to discuss your research in my office, over coffee, or wherever it's convenient for you.

Office: Library Lower Level (facing Beck Hall)
email: fister@gustavus.edu
phone: x7553
Website / Blog Page

Citing Sources

As you work, make sure you have enough information to cite sources you ultimately decide to use. There are options in both the catalog and in the Academic Search Premier database to create a citation to copy - but they are often slightly wrong, so be prepared to edit them.

A Very Brief Guide to MLA

A More Complete Guide

Sample MLA Paper

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License