Follow the step-by-step guidelines below to help you get started with library research. There are links to other pages in this guide for more detailed information.
Step 1: Develop a list of search terms based on the blue areas you chose for your paper. Each section provides and excellent list of terms you can use as a starting point for your research. More about search terms on the LibGuide page linked below.
Step 2. Start Your Research with the library database, Credo Reference. Reference sources provide you with a lot of great articles, explanations, definitions, and more about a topic. Reference sources work great for learning more about a new topic and for providing information you need when you lay the foundation for your topic in a paper. Link to more information about using Credo Reference database, below, as well as directly link to the database itself.
Step 3. You may end up finding all of the information you need to complete your paper in the database, Credo Reference. However, if you need a peer-reviewed article or would like to focus in on a more narrow, specific aspect of a topic you might want to try one of the library's subject-specific databases. NOTE: The databases by EBSCO will be available after you graduate and you're working in the field. EBSCO databases are provided by the State of Wisconsin (your taxes dollars working to benefit you). All you or your organization needs is a public library card which you can obtain for free at a local public library near you.
Link below to the LibGuide pages to watch a very short tutorial how how to use Western Library databases and a list of databases you can link to directly to start your further research. Whenever you have a question about your research or the databases, please feel free to reach out to me at my email address on the left or via our Ask-a-Librarian service.
Step 4: Book resources may be a good alternative or supplement to database articles. Western Library recently added many books about diversity topics. For sample titles and to learn how books are organized in libraries click on the LibGuide page below.
Step 5: Keep track of each article or book you use for your research. Jot down the name of the author, the title of the source and the database where you may have found it. Think about emailing your database sources to yourself as a means of keeping track. Look for "Email" or "Share" tools to do this. (NOTE: In Credo Reference be sure to check the "Full Text" formatting option so you don't get just the citation.)
Citing your sources is a critical step in the research process. When you conduct research you must give credit to the author of the materials you use. We do this by listing specific information about a source to credit the author, but also so that others may access the information. Information is listed according to a particular citation "style." Like other kinds of "styles" this refers to the appearance of the listed information, basically the order the information is listed, whether capital letters, italics, or quotation marks are used, and what order specific information is listed. For example, in APA "style" the publication date is listed after the author, where in MLA "style" it's listed at the end, prior to a URL. The three most common citation styles college students use are MLA, APA, and Chicago.
Reach out to the Writing Center in the Learning Commons when you need help with both writing and citing your sources. They have a great staff who are always happy to help!
Links to LibGuides about these styles are listed below.
Why Cite Sources?
It's important to cite the sources for several reasons. The first is to show that you have done you've conducted the appropriate research for your topic. The second is to give credit to the words and ideas published by your sources' authors. The third, is to make it easy for the reader to find the source for themselves.
Citations are used to identify a work that has been published - a book, article, chapter, web site). Style refers to the way a citation is laid out or organized on the page, MLA, APA, and Chicago are three common citation styles used by college students and each one is laid out a little bit differently than the others.
Different academic disciplines have specific guidelines for organizing material and citing sources. These rules are published as style manuals. While each citation system is distinct, the underlying rationale is the same–to facilitate written communication among members in a scholarly community.
Using Database Citation Tools
Most databases include citations tools that allow you to copy/paste the citation to a n article or other item. But heads up! Be aware that if you copy/paste a citation from a database, some citations in database contain errors, most often with incorrect capitalization. And sometimes when you past your citation into your paper, the italics revert to regular format. Double-check your citation against a style guide. Your job as the author of your work is to make the corrections before you turn them in.