Algonquin College - Library

Research Guide

Use this guide to help you with every stage of the writing process

Step 3: Search for Resources

Once you have your topic and have planned out which search terms to use, you can begin to search for resources. This section will help you find credible, useful, and relevant resources.

Tips

  • Take note of the types of resources you will require.Does your course require peer reviewed sources?
  • Look at the digital resource collections.If One Search does not have what you need, try a digital resource collection that has information related to your topic.
  • Read reference lists. If you find an article or resource that is relevant to your paper, read the references they cite at the end; these may lead you to similar sources.
  • Use Boolean search strategies. These strategies can help you to conduct a more focused, effective search.
  • Keep your sources in one place. You can use a Word document, or use one of the free citation manager tools such as RefMe.

Take note of the resources you need (They could be required by the assignment or resources you need for your topic)

  • Do you require current material (e.g. material published within the last five years)?
  • Do you need information from a particular type of publication (e.g. peer-reviewed journals, scholarly publications or popular magazines)?
  • Do you need to use primary sources (e.g. first-hand records of events, diaries, interviews, or raw data) or secondary sources (sources that analyze, describe or explain primary source)? Most research that you will be doing will likely use secondary sources.
  • How many sources do you need?

  • My assignment requires:
    • At least 5 secondary sources ( at least one should be peer reviewed)
    • Because my topic is a current issue, I should try to choose current sources that reflect the most up-to-date research. I also need to make sure all sources are credible.

Use the One Search platform to find articles, books, magazines, etc.You can use One Search from the Library home page to search almost all of the Library's digital and print resources at once.:

  • Online: journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, ebooks, video
  • In-Library: books, DVDs

Some of the Library’s collections are not available through One Search. If you don’t see what you are looking for, you can search directly in each digital resource collection.


Searching with One Search

Watch this video to learn how to search using One Search, the Library's central search platform.

Understanding your search results in One Search

Watch this video to learn about how your search results are displayed in One Search.

  • Note: if there is a resource that you want that isn’t available at Algonquin College, you can request the item through an Interlibrary loan.

  • Using some of the keywords I brainstormed when I planned my search, I search “climate change technology” in One Search
  • This search returns nearly 84,000 results, many of which are related to my research topic. Because I have so many search results, my search might be overly broad. I will use the search strategies in the next tab to improve my search.

One Search

Search One Search for articles from magazines, journals and newspapers by keyword, title or author.

  1. Enter your search terms. By default, One Search with filter your search to show only results that are Available in Library Collection. You can also filter by Full-text or Scholarly results if required.
  2. When viewing your search results, use the Source Types listed on the left of the page to refine the results to articles from academic journals, magazines, etc.

Digital Resources Collections

You can search for specific articles within each digital resource collection.

  1. Open the list of digital resources collections.
  2. Use the Database Type drop-down menu to filter the collections. Use filters such as the following to display the collections that contain this type of resource:
    • Articles
    • Scholarly
    • Peer Reviewed
    • Trade Journals
    • Magazines
    • Newspapers
    • Reports
  3. Choose a digital resource collection.
  4. Conduct a search with your search terms within the collection. The collection will not automatically filter your results to articles.
  5. Use the collection’s search limiters to filter your search. The following are some of ways you can narrow your search:
    • By document type to show only articles
    • To peer reviewed journals

Publications Search by Title

  1. Click Search Publications by Title on the Library homepage.
  2. Search the by title of journal, magazine, or newspaper. The results will display the available titles. The issues available will be listed for any print materials and digital resource collections that contain this publication.
  3. Choose from the list of digital resources and print collections that provide access to the publication. Take note of the years covered by each collection.

Digital Resources Collections

  1. Open the list of digital resource collections and change the database type to articles.
  2. Choose a digital resource collection.
  3. Search for a publication within the collection.

One Search

Search One Search for books or ebooks by keyword, title or author.

  1. Enter your search terms. By default, One Search with filter your search to show only results that are Available in Library Collection.
  2. When viewing your search results, use the limiters in the left side bar to refine your search:
    • Under Limit To, select Print Books
    • Under Source Types, select books and/or ebooks

Digital Resources Collections (eBooks)

You can search for ebooks within each digital resource collection.

  1. Open the list of digital resources collections change the database type to Ebooks & Audiobooks.
  2. Choose a digital resource collection.
  3. Conduct a search with your search terms within the collection. The collection may not automatically filter your results to ebooks.
  4. Use the collection’s search limiters to filter your search.

Library Catalogue (books)

  1. Open the Library Catalogue. The link to the Library Catalogue is also located on the Library home page.
  2. Enter the title, author, subject or keyword in the search bar and choose the type of search using the drop box.
    • You may limit your query by campus.
    • You can limit your search to electronic books by checking the Search only Electronic Books box.
    • You can limit your results by language, year and format (film and videos) by selecting Advanced Search.
  3. Click Search.
  4. Click on a title to open the complete record. The record will tell you the following:
    • The library location: the campus library that has your item.
    • The call number or shelf location.
    • The type of material.
    • The location (standard shelf location or in library use such as reserves or reference). It will also note if the item is in a special area of the library (easy readers or oversized). Items on reserve or in reference at other campuses cannot be Intercampus loaned.
    • Whether or not the item is available. The item may be borrowed if it does not have a due date showing under Location.

Note: If the title is listed as “unavailable” the due date will be shown, you may place a hold on the item. You will be contacted when the item becomes available.

 

DVDs and Online Videos in One Search

Search One Search for DVDs and online video by keyword, title or author.

  1. Enter your search terms. By default, One Search with filter your search to show only results that are Available in Library Collection.
  2. When viewing your search results, use the Source Types listed on the left of the page to refine the results to Video.

Online Videos in Digital Resource Collections

You can search for online videos within each digital resource collection.

  1. Open the list of digital resources collections and change the database type to Online Videos.
  2. Choose a digital resource collection.
  3. Conduct a search with your search terms within the collection. The collection may not automatically filter your results to videos.
  4. Use the collection’s search limiters to filter your search. You can often use these limiters to filter your results to videos.

DVDs and Online Videos in the Library Catalogue

  1. Open the Library Catalogue. The link to the Library Catalogue is also located on the Library home page.
  2. Select Advanced Search and enter the title, author, subject or keyword, in the search bars.
  3. Set the format to ‘DVDs Videos Films’.
  4. Click Search.
  5. Click on a title to open the complete record. The record will tell you the following:
    • The type of resource (online video or DVD).
    • The library location: the campus library that has your item.
    • The call number or shelf location.
    • The type of material.
    • The location (standard shelf location or in library use such as reserves or reference).
    • Whether or not the item is available. The item may be borrowed if it does not have a due date showing under Location.

Note: If the title is listed as “unavailable” the due date will be shown, you may place a hold on the item. You will be contacted when the item becomes available.

You can improve your results by using these search tips:

Use Boolean Logic to combine your terms into search statements (e.g. “cigarette smoking” AND asthma).

Keep track of the resources that you have found. Record all the bibliographic information as well as the source. This will save you a lot of time later on.

In One Search, you can narrow your search results by using limiters.

Use the following limiters to filter your search results to better meet your needs.

  1. Limit To:
    • Full Text: Show only items where the item is immediately available to you online.
    • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals: Limit your results to articles published in peer reviewed journals.
    • Print Books: Limit your results to print books.
    • Publication date: Change the publication date to narrow the date range of your results.
  2. Source Type:
    • Filter your results to show only certain types of resources, such as books, videos, ebooks, news, magazines, or academic journals.
  3. Subject:
    • Select a subject term from this list to refine your search terms.

Refining search results in One Search

Watch this video to learn how to refine your search results in One Search to find results that better suit your needs.

There are many types of resources available to you as a researcher – not all are equally good for all topics. For every topic there is a key resource.

  • Primary vs. Secondary Sources Defined:

    In general, most research you will undertake at the college will use secondary sources.

    • Primary sources are original research. They involve first person experiences such as observations of an event or research. They include the results of an experiment, first person witness testimony, raw data from case studies, or data from a survey or poll before it is analyzed.
    • Secondary research uses source materials that already exist, usually from primary sources. A secondary research source would take the content of primary research sources and provide a summary of that research or use it support their own conclusion. Examples include textbooks, articles that review past research, and encyclopedia listings.
  • Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly:
    • Scholarly sources are published in academic journals. They are written by experts in a certain field, often to reporting research findings. Many, but not all,are peer-reviewed.
    • Non-scholarly sometimes called popular sources, are not peer-reviewed and are generally written for a broad audience. These may include websites, magazines, or newspapers.
  • Other Resources: There are many types of sources that you can find during your research, especially now that most research takes place online. Other types of sources are described in more detail in the Types of Resources page in The Learning Portal.

  • How to identify a scholarly article

    Watch this video to learn about the characteristics of a scholarly article.

    How to Find a Scholarly Article

    Watch this video to learn how to find scholarly articles using One Search or through individual digital resource collections.

  • I know that there are several ways to describe what I am researching, so I will use Boolean operators such as ‘OR’ or 'AND' to search multiple terms.
    Example: technolog* AND (global warming) OR (climate change) AND renewable energy sources.
  • I also know that I need recent sources, so I can change the Publication Date filter, located on the left side bar, to show sources that were published in 2010 or later.
  • Looking at my list of results from this search I can see relevant results (e.g. peer reviewed articles on global warming)
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