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Information Literacy: Finding Sources: Home

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A Variety of Information Sources

 ► Your research assignments will require you to use a variety of resources. Different in purpose and scope, each of these information sources can be valuable for your research:

Encyclopedias Books Magazines Academic Journals

Encyclopedias offer short overviews of the major themes and concepts in an area. Encyclopedias can be general, covering a wide range of topics, or subject-specific.

Books offer lengthy, detailed discussions of a topic. They help to put your research in context and often provide great summaries of the research done in the area.


 Magazines provide articles and visuals covering a wide range of topics. Articles are typically written by journalists and are meant for the general public.


Academic journals are collections of articles written by scholars in the field (often professors). A journal board carefully reviews submitted articles, checking them for accuracy and quality.

Encyclopedias are great for looking up background information on a topic. They can also be helpful in finding keywords to use in more advanced searching

NCC Library books are available in both print and electronic formats.

Not enough time to read the whole book? Consider reading the chapter(s) that clearly relate to your topic

These resources offer up-to-date discussions on current events and popular culture. Less scholarly than academic research journals, magazine articles tend to be easy to read. 

Journal articles provide researchers with cutting edge, reliable information in all fields of research. Your research isn't complete without looking for scholarly journal articles! 

Using Keywords

 ► Library databases will require you to search using keywords and phrases. To find keywords, pull out the main concepts of your topic. If your topic is highly technical, consider looking at an encyclopedia (like Wikipedia) to familiarize yourself with the language. 


Topic Idea: Do violent videogames influence teenage aggression?
Teenagers Violence Video Games
teens, adolescent, young adults violent, aggression, stress

computer games, gaming, electronic games



 ► After you have a basic set of keywords related to your topic, you'll need to brainstorm alternative keywords and synonyms to use for searching. Trying different terms in you searching will give you back different results in the database. It's important to try a number of different combinations when researching. 

Using Boolean Searching


► A more advanced search technique, Boolean searching combines the operators AND, OR, and NOT to narrow or broaden the search


Using "and " will limit your search results to resources that contain BOTH terms

Using "or" will increase your search results to resources that contain EITHER term

Using "not" will limit your search results to resources that contain ONLY the first term and not the second


► As you can see, many databases offer Boolean operators in their search boxes. Try different combinations depending on the amount of resources you're finding:


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