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Scroll down for information about accessing the library, and the kinds of sources commonly used in college-level research.
contain articles and images about diverse topics of popular interest and current events. Usually, these articles are written by journalists or scholars and are geared toward the average adult. Magazines may cover very "serious" material, but to find consistent scholarly information, you should use journals.
to find information or opinions about popular culture
to find up-to-date information about current events
to find general articles for people who are not necessarily specialists about the topic
» National Geographic
» Sports Illustrated
contain articles usually written by scholars in an academic or professional field. An editorial board of experts in the field reviews articles to decide whether they should be accepted (this process is known as "peer review"). Articles in journals can cover very specific topics or narrow fields of research.
» when doing scholarly research to find out what has been studied on your topic
» to find bibliographies that point to other relevant research
» Journal of Communication
» Current History: A Journal of Contemporary World Affairs
» Journal of Professional Nursing
» Journal of Humanistic Psychology
contain articles about current events usually published daily. Since there is at least one in every city, newspapers are great sources for local information. Newspapers also provide primary reporting .
» to find current information about international, national and local events
» to find editorials, commentaries, expert or popular opinions
» New York Times
» Tampa Bay Times
» USA Today
similar to magazines; contain articles written by and for professionals within an industry or career field. They provide very specific information about current trends and topics in the field.
» for an insider's perspective on current issues within an industry or field
» The National Culinary Review
» OfficePro Magazine
» ACCESS Magazine (American Dental Hygienists Association)
are online collections of full text (entire article online) articles—and/or citations or abstracts (brief summaries)—of articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers. Many databases also include audiovisual content, such as videos, images, audio clips, podcasts, and more. eBooks and eBook chapters are also in databases.
» to find material about your topic from articles, audiovisual content, or eBooks
» Academic Search Complete (a general database)
» CINAHL Plus Full Text (a nursing database)
» Business Insights: Essentials (a business database)
is an organized and searchable set of records of physical books in the library—as well as links to online eBooks, periodical articles, streaming videos, audio clips, and more—pulled from individual databases. The HCC library catalog can be found on the HCC Libraries home page. The catalog will point you to the location of a particular source, or group of sources, that the library owns on your topic.
» to find out what items the library owns on your topic
» to find where a specific item is located in the library
cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction. For research purposes, you will probably be looking for books that synthesize information on a topic to support a particular argument or thesis.
Libraries organize and store their hardcopy books using a system the groups similar books together by topic. Each book has a label on the spine with an alphanumeric code, known as the call number, that functions as the book's "address."
» when looking for lots of information on a topic
» to put your topic in context with other important issues
» to find historical information to find summaries of research to support an argument
» Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
» Cox, Rebecca D. The College Fear Factor: How Students and Professors Misunderstand One Another(eBook).
are collections of concise, factual entries, often written by different contributors who are knowledgeable about the topic. Their overt purpose is to provide background information rather than support a thesis.
There are two types of encyclopedias: general and subject. General encyclopedias provide concise overviews on a wide variety of topics. Subject encyclopedias contain in-depth entries focusing on one field of study.
» when looking for background information on a topic
» when trying to find key ideas, important dates or concepts
» Encyclopedias are available in hardcopy in the library or online as eBooks in the library catalog. Many database searches will bring up encyclopedia articles as well as journal, magazine and newspaper articles.
allows you to access most types of information on the Internet through a browser. One of the main features of the Web is the ability to quickly link to other related information. The Web contains information beyond plain text, including sounds, images, and video.
The important thing to do when using information on the Internet is to know how to evaluate it!
» to find current information
» to find information about companies
» to find information from all levels of government - federal to local
» to find both expert and popular opinions
» to find information about hobbies and personal interests
Adapted with permission from University Libraries at Virginia Tech.