CSES 4854 Research Resources: Information Retrieval

Part I: Know Before You Start

  • Terminology  (key concepts, scientific or technical terms, jargon words,  etc)
  • Access tools for identifying information sources 
  • Print: Indexes , abstracts, bibliographies
  • Electronic:  Indexes/databases, Online catalogs, VT Library web site                                           
  • World Wide Web: Nothing evaluated, much is not reliable
  • Always!  Always!  Evaluate what you find, no matter where you find it.     


Part II: How to Search

  • Carefully describe or define what you want to know—write a thesis statement/hypothesis
  • Identify primary & secondary concepts and associated terms – fill in Concept Table
  • Organize key terms into a logical search statement – primary concept first (Search statements)
  • Search the online catalog plus appropriate print and electronic indexes, handbooks, etc
  • Search for key terms starting with primary concept, then add secondary concepts
  • Evaluate relevancy of results
  • Revise search statements (choice and relationship of terms) as needed

Part III: Getting What You Find

  • If the library has access to the online full-text – download or print it
  • If the library does not have access to online full-text, use ILLIAD (Interlibrary Loan) to obtain materials not available online       
  • Off-campus students -- use ILLIAD Document Delivery Service for anything not accessible online

 ILLIAD link is:  http://www.lib.vt.edu/ill/index.html


Part IV: Copyright Issues & Plagiarism

  • Private personal use – one copy is OK
  • Public or public personal use – get permission no matter what format it is in
  • Always give credit to the originator for anything you borrow from someone else, including anything you find on the World Wide Web

Helpful readings:

  • http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/copyright/
  • http://www.plagiarism.org/  
  • http://www.english.vt.edu/plagiarism/plagiarism1.html
  • http://www.lib.vt.edu/find/citation/index.html


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Inga Haugen
204 Newman Library