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Academic Search Ultimate offers a multidisciplinary collection of peer-reviewed, full-text journals. This scholarly collection provides coverage for nearly all academic areas of study including social sciences & humanities, education, technology, health, business, politics and government, ethnic studies and more.
Contains many core topics, each with an overview (objective background / description), point (argument), and counterpoint (opposing argument).
Avoid using Editorials or Letters to the Editor from print or online newspapers. These articles are "opinion pieces" and the authors may lack subject expertise.
Not sure if you are reading an Editorial or Letter to the Editor? If it is an Ebsco database article, click on the title of the article. Scroll down to "Document Type." If it is a ProQuest database article, click on the "Abstract/Details" tab. Scroll down to "Document Type."
Use these reliable fact-checking and bias-checking websites for news articles and websites:
MediaBias/Fact Check (analyzes news and other website bias and contains a list of questionable sources.
Use the questions on the Questions to Ask When Determining Credibility of Sources handout to help you determine the credibility of websites. Check the information by comparing several websites on the same topic. Take a few facts from one article and confirm or disprove them with another credible source (Stebbins, 2015, pp. 22-23). Use the fact-checking websites on the News tab.
Useful tip: Government and military websites, whose URLs end in .gov, .mil, .state.us, or .state.gov, are credible sources of information. For more tips about using information from websites, watch the short NAU video below.
Stebbins, L.F. (2015). Finding Reliable Information Online. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Unlike Google, library databases can't understand an entire sentence. So you'll need to break your topic down into the most important ideas - the KEYWORDS.
Example Topic: What was the effect of social media on candidate preference in the 2016 US presidential election?
The specifics of your topic will matter when selecting sources, but for searching you only need the most essential components.
Keywords: social media, candidate preference, 2016 US presidential election
Tutorial - Finding Keywords
If you find you need to practice choosing keywords, try the Finding Keywords tutorial.
Most words have synonyms that mean the same, or very similar, things. For each keyword in your topic, try to come up with at least one synonym. Not all keywords will have synonyms, but many do!
Keyword: social media Synonym: Facebook
Keep an Eye Out
Sometimes scholars use terms that you might not be familiar with, or which might mean something very specific within the discipline. While searching, look for unfamiliar terms or words that show up a lot. Try searching for those and see if you find more relevant sources.
Most library databases have search tools built in. Try some of these:
Subject: Think of subjects as official hashtags. Use them to find sources about that subject.
Date Range: Limit your search to sources published between specific years.
Peer Reviewed: Limit your search to scholarly journal articles.
Full Text: Make sure all of the results are available to read in full.
Look on the left and right of your search results, or for an "advanced search" page to find these tools - and more!