Why do you have to learn all this library stuff, anyway? (1:21)
Let's start off with a quick tour of the library building, and then we'll talk more about conducting your research. (3:57)
When someone tells you to eat your vegetables, they don't usually mean that you can't eat anything else--just that you need to be sure to include vegetables in your diet. The same is true when your professors tell you to use scholarly/peer-reviewed sources.
You can make those vegetables (aka scholarly sources) go down easier if you're willing to add spices, sauces, and other ingredients (aka other types of resources). Here's why you might want to think about using a source like an encyclopedia or a news article in addition to those scholarly sources your professors are requiring you to use (3:33).
And here's some further clarification of what your professor is talking about in the first place when they ask you to find "scholarly" resources (1:20).
Whatever resources you end up using--website, encyclopedia article, magazine article, scholarly journal article, movie, book, whatever--you still need to evaluate those sources to determine whether they're giving you high-quality information or not. Here are some tips for making sure you don't get scammed (1:11).
Now that you'll recognize useful sources when you see them, we should think about how to find them. Why might you choose to search the library databases instead of (or in addition to) Google? (2:56)
But given that Penfield has 100+ databases to choose from, how should you choose which library database to use? And what are all those other resources the library website links to?
Don't worry--we've got you covered! (2:00)
The words you choose to represent your search are SUPER important, regardless of whether you search Google or a library database. Word choice can make the difference between finding fabulous sources and finding nothing. (2:15)
You can also combine all those synonyms in different ways, to control whether you get more or fewer results (2:42).
No matter what kind of sources you use, you need to cite them. Here's an intro to the basics of citation, plus a bit about why your professors insist on this in the first place (1:54).
Citations *can* be a little tricky if you haven't worked with them before... but they're really important.
Better still, they're easily obtainable in most library databases. Most library databases include a button to cite whatever resource you're looking at.
Also, you can link to Penfield Library's guide to citing sources from any library webpage, if you want help figuring out how to format things.
Whew! Got all that? Here's what it all boils down to:
Also, this: You can always ask a librarian for advice at any stage of your research.
Have I mentioned that you can always ask a librarian for help?
Seriously, they hire us librarians so we can help you, even if all you want is someone to listen while you think out loud about topic ideas. But we don't know you need help unless you ask us. That piece is up to you.