Tim Miller







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Research Basics

Reading Scholarly Articles

Citations & Plagiarism

Basic Library Resources

Research Guides

What to Look For

Database List (Finding Articles)

Reference Resources

useful for choosing a topic, finding basic background information, and learning more about a topic of interest.

the list of databases help you to narrow down your search- the first 'rule' of research is to search in the right place!

InterLibrary Loan

Request Books & Articles


(To log in, use your HSU user ID & password)

InterLibrary Loan


Books & Other Print Materials

Pick up requests at the circulation desk

Requests are sent via email as electronic copies

You are not alone!


Email the Research Help Desk

24/7 Chat

Contact individual librarians by specialty

Phone during reference hours

First Floor Research Help Desk (707) 826-3418 ​

Humboldt Room/Government Documents (707) 826-3419

Research Strategy

  • Choosing a topic
  • Thinking of keywords
  • Searching in databases
    • using Booleans
    • filters
    • subject headings
    • saving your work
  • citations

Assignment Requirements

  • number of sources
  • type of sources 
    • primary/secondary
    • peer-review
    • Recent sources
  • publication date range
  • What are you looking for?
    • evidence for your arguments
    • new ideas & recommendations
    • ways to refine your topic
  • ​Citations - style guide (MLA, APA, etc)

Assignment Requirements

Choosing a Topic

  • Choose something interesting to you!
  • Develop a few keywords based on what you already know about your topic
    • think of synonyms/related terms
    • how does this fit with the requirements of the assignment?

Starting a Search

Start broad and narrow down

Begin with a simple search

There are no magic tricks

Research requires time & patience

Try different things

there is no one search that will uncover everything that you're looking for- you will need to repeat, repeat, repeat



Subject Headings

  • Similar to hashtags in social media
  • Curated by specialists 
  • Assigned to the article when it is added to the database
  • Encapsulates a concept, not just a specific word

Let's try it out

Reading Scholarly Articles

Think about the author(s)

  • Tips before you begin reading the article:
    • Who is the author - what is their hypothesis/view?
    • What does the abstract indicate?
      • Purpose
      • Methods
      • Conclusions

Reading Scholarly Articles

Think about your needs

  • Tips before you begin reading the article:
    • What do you need from the article?
    • What is the purpose of your paper/presentation?
    • Evidence
      • Background information
      • Support your hypothesis/view
      • Recommendations
      • Conclusions

Structure of a scholarly Article





Abstract (summary)

Introduction (background & purpose)

Methods (what the author did)

Results (what the author found)

Discussion (what the results mean)

Conclusion (the implications)

References (what the author read)


Skip around

You do not need to read EVERYTHING

Read what applies to your topic


Look for useful content

Ideas that you might cite

Specifics to help you narrow your topic


Look for topic sentences

Skim for key sentences that appear at the beginning and end of paragraphs


Take notes

Save the citations when you find the article

Highlight sections

Write down notes - with page #s and article info

Citations & Plagiarism

Quote - Exact Language

Enclose in quotation marks

Cite the source (in-text, reference list)


Paraphrase - Your own words

Use significantly different language

Cite the source (in-text, reference list)

Citations & Plagiarism

Citation Guides

Memorial University Libraries

Research Crash Course

By Tim Miller

Research Crash Course

This slideshow was used in a presentation to MSW students via Sococo 6/15/15

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