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CCM 101: Public Speaking with Dr. de Onis: Topic Research

Key Resources to use for researching your topic

When you want to look at variety of articles from academic/scholarly sources; local & regional newspapers,  or general audience magazines, there are 4 very different databases available to you from the Hatfield Library that you should turn to:

 

Hatfield Library also offers access to hundreds of subject oriented databases.  For instance, when you are doing research on Environmental related topics, here are 2 databases of specific interest:

  • GreenFile - perspective on the positive and negative ways humans affect the ecology.
  • GREENR - Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources with particular strength in covering technologies, laws, health and scientific research.

 

​You can view the complete roster of over 230 databases offered by Hatfield Library.

 

And there are 3 major producers of subject oriented databases Ebsco, Gale/Cengag and Proquest) that allow you to cluster together results by the database producer, rather than selecting individual disciplines:

Advice for effective KEYWORD searching article oriented databases & library catalogs

There are 6 central concepts that are important to grasp, in order build an effective KEYWORD search strategy in any article oriented database OR library catalog:

 

  • #1:  If you have a MULTI WORD PHRASE you need to treat it differently - treat it like a mathematical expression, and put it inside a set of PARENTHESES:    For example:  Military Industrial Complex ===> (Military Industrial Complex)

 

  • #2:  Meaningful use of synonyms - do not search for just one word, to cover your core concept.  Try to include synonyms & unique phrases that are closely allied with your prinicpal area of focus. Separate each of the synonyms with the OR command:    For example:   Child abuse ===> (Child abuse) OR (Abused children) OR (Sexual abuse) OR (Sexually abused) OR (Physical abuse) OR (Physically abused) OR (Emotional abuse) OR (Emotionally abused)

 

  • #3:  Using WILDCARDS for variety of words that have similar starting point of spelling - do not search for just one word, if there are an entire family of words that all have the same base word.  The ASTERISK "*" is the wildcard to use most article oriented databases.    For example:   Econom* will automatically pull in:  Econometric OR Econometrically OR Economic OR Economically OR Economize OR Economizing

 

  • #4:  If you are trying to focus on a specific Geography, you really need to search for both the Name of the country / city / region, as well as searching for the People of that county / city / region, and sometimes adding in the name of their language.  For example, if you want to only focus on your topic in Holland, then you should formulate that component as ==> ( Holland OR Netherlands OR  Dutch )

 

  • #5:  If you have a HYPHENATED WORD you need to search for it both WITH and WITHOUT the hyphen::    For example:  Multi-National Corporations ===> (mutli-national corporations) OR (mutlinational corporations)

 

  • #6:  Understanding the searching options of that particular database -- if your database has the capability of specifying a unique field to search, try looking for your topic under the SUBJECT umbrella.   For example:  an ordinary search as contasted against  a subject only search

 

For some research toptics, the difference in the number of articles retrieved between these two simple options could be 4 to 1!

Opposing Viewpoints in Context (database)

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

This is a one-stop source for information on current social issues. OVRC features viewpoint articles, topic overviews, full-text magazine, academic journal, and newspaper articles, primary source documents, statistics, images and podcasts, and links to websites.

This database should only be used as a starting point in helping you select an appropriate topic, since this database focuses on giving students Overviews!

OVIC can be helpful in obtaining background information about a topic, to help bring you “up to speed”.  However, you should not create your research project solely from this database!

OVIC contains excerpts from lots of different types of resources.  If you only view those snippets, you might fail to see the full context of where an underlying article is coming from.

For this project, you need to read each article that you use, in its entirety.  This is very important to do, before you consider what types of bias might be present within a specific article.  You need to examine resources for both the type of bias, as well as the degree of possible bias that a source is trying to perpetrate on you, the reader.

OVIC is not designed to have the most up to the minute urgent coverage of fast breaking news.

  1. Click on this link to start up the OVIC database.
  2. Then move to the upper right hand corner, go into the white search box.  Enter your topic as a simple phrase.  Then press the grey "Search" button.
  3. This database does not offer an effective way to search for a topic in multiple countries.  In order to perform that type of search, you will have to use the other databases mentioned for this class. 

Access World News (database)

Access World News

This is a Full Text database, but it is not a full image database!  You will never see a single photo, graphic or bar chart in this database.

AWN provides access to over 2,000 newspapers, of all sizes, within the United States, as well as over 1,000 newspapers published in other countries. AWN also includes access to national & regional news wire services.

  • Click on this link to start up the AWN database There are two different routes you can take to locate articles.
  • BROWSE FROM TOPICS THAT WERE RECENTLY POPULAR IN VOLUME - Go the bottom left hand corner, and click on either "Special Reports" or the link called "Hot Topics".
  • USE THE "Fill In The Blanks" APPROACH -- THEN ADD IN SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS - Start by using the white horizontal boxes, similar to how you use most journal article databases.  Then move down a bit to narrow your topic by specific geography.  Just below the map of the world, are some Quick Click boxes that can help you focus on some commonly chosen areas.

Here is an example of looking for newspaper articles about gay marriage, across Africa:

  • A handful of countries (such as USA, Canada, Australia and England) allow you to also pick a smaller unit of geography (a state, a province or a region).  You can select a specific state, or multiple states, for those popular countries.
  • Within a specific continent, you can select multiple countries.

  • If you are looking for a multi-word phrase, you will need to surround your topic with a set of (Parentheses).  For example, if you are for Gay Marriage you would type:  (gay marriage)
  • You can add another line to your search strategy by using the blue colored "plus sign" on the far left side of the screen.

  • You can change the precise way in your search strategy is conducted by click in the boxes on the far right side of the horizontal boxes.
  • At any time after you execute a search, the far left column offers you options to narrow down the results by certain types of criteria.  This is dynamic, based upon the unique results of each search strategy that you conduct.

 

Newspaper Source (database)

Newspaper Source

Newspaper Source provides access to 40 newspapers that are national in scope for a specific country, as well as over 300 local & regional newspapers within the United States,

Although the title of this database says "newspapers" this database also offers access to:

  • transcripts of participating national radio news programs
  • transcripts of participating national television/cable news programs
  • articles that were distributed by participating news wire services

This database include citations from a variety of sources without necessarily giving you the full text of the underlying documents.  Although this database will allow you to submit Inter Library Loan requests for items mentioned in this database, the Hatfield Library cannot actually fulfill ILL requests quickly for many of the underlying newspapers, as compared to our normal turnaround time for finding academic journal articles.

However on the bright side, the Newspaper Source database does offer the ability to click on a button that will only show you Full Text results, so you will not have to wait for the 3+ business day turnaround time for ILL requests.

  1. Click on this link to start up the Newspaper Source database.
  2. Look for the blue circular button at the upper right of the screen, with a series of white horizontal boxes directly adjacent.  Use the first white box to type in the Main Topic you are researching, then click on the green colored "Search" button.
  3. After getting the results, you can now use the second line of white boxes to enter the Geography (Country, State, City or County) that you want to focus on, then click on the green colored "Search" button. 
  4. Go to the far left column, look for the section called "Limit To:, and click on the button labeled "Full Text"  The screen will instantly flutter with a grey screen, and then settle down with your new results.
  5. It is best if you only look for one combination of Topic AND Geography at a time.

Academic Search Premier (database)

Academic Search Premier

Academic Search Premier provides direct full text coverage for more than 4,000 journals in a wide variety of fields of: social sciences, humanities, general science, education, general news and multi-cultural journals. It also offers indexing and abstracts for 8,000+ additional academic journals where the full text is available with a couple of clicks.from other document providers.

Although the title of this database says "academic", this database also offers access to over 1,000 magazines focusing on current events, politics, hobbies, personal interest and other popular non-academic topics.

This database include citations from a variety of sources without necessarily giving you the full text of the underlying documents.  Although this database will allow you to submit Inter Library Loan requests for items mentioned in this database, the turnaround time for fulfilling ILL requests is typically in the range of 2 to 4 business days.

However on the bright side, the Academic Search Premier database does offer the ability to click on a button that will only show you Full Text results, so you can get articles in just a few clicks without any wait.

  1. Click on this link to start up the Academic Search Premier database.
  2. Look for the blue circular button at the upper right of the screen, with a series of white horizontal boxes directly adjacent.  Use the first white box to type in the Main Topic you are researching, then click on the green colored "Search" button.
  3. After getting the results, you can now use the second line of white boxes to enter the Geography (Country, State, City or County) that you want to focus on, then click on the green colored "Search" button. 
  4. Go to the far left column, look for the section called "Limit To:, and click on the button labeled "Full Text"  The screen will instantly flutter with a grey screen, and then settle down with your new results.
  5. It is best if you only look for one combination of Topic AND Geography at a time.

Gary Klein (Reference Librarian)

Gary Klein's picture
Gary Klein
Contact:
Mark O. Hatfield Library
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301

Work phone: #503-370-6743

Gary's general work schedule (Fall 2019):
Mon, Tue, and Thu = 9:30am -- 6:30pm; Wed = 1pm -- 9pm,; Fri = 9:30am -- 5:30pm and by appointment at other times.
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