A. You can begin searching the library catalog from the Libraries' home page. If don't have an exact book or journal title you are looking for, just type keywords in the search box and press enter. You will be able to limit your search just like you do at Amazon by selecting from the choices in the left hand column. For a more specific search here's a great video to get you started on searching the Libraries' catalogs by title and journal title -- it's only 3 minutes long.
Just click on the image to play.
Remember, your topic may not lend itself to books and you will have to use some of the databases like Access World News or MasterFile Premier which are listed on the COMM1000 class guide.
A. Citation creation is probably one of the hardest things to learn as a student because you may be called upon to utilize different styles depending on the subject area. Most communication classes require you to use APA (American Psychological Association) style. Most English courses require you to use MLA (Modern Language Association) style. Regardless of the style, most citations contain the same information: author, title, where it was published (either journal name (article) or place (books)), and date. Besides the examples provided on the Comm1000 class guide, the library has the style manuals behind the reference desk and your instructor will also provide you with more information. Consider making an appointment with the Miller Writing Center in the library or one of their satellite venues to help you with your references. If you need help with reading a citation view the video below.
Just click on the image to play.
And as to the question of "Why cite?" think of the citation as a permanent address or telephone number -- it gives you the information needed so a researcher should be able to get back to, or obtain a copy, of the article or book in the reference list. Citing also gives credit for the ideas (or intellectual content) to the author(s) who wrote the article or book. Finally, citing a "credible" or "reliable" source helps lend weight to your argument or point and can bolster your authority as being knowledgeable about the topic of your speech.
A. There is now new page on the Comm1000 class guide called Getting Started. It does contain some broad suggestions such as Points to Consider and Places to Go for Topic Ideas along with some worksheets and database and web links for ideas. What it currently does not have are points on how to narrow your topic, so here are some things that may help you.
- Your topic should be neither too broad nor too narrow.
- In a speech with three main points, if you have material for seven points -- your topic is too broad.
- You may have too much information to create a tight, well-formulated thesis statement.
- Narrow your topic by choosing one aspect; e.g. if your topic is domestic violence you could investigate the effect on children; or look at cultural differences in helping those involved; or how attitudes towards it has changed over time
- Likewise, if you have only one main point, and you need three -- your topic is too narrow.
- You may not have enough material to support your thesis.
- Newer topics/innovations/creations may not have as much written supporting material as well established ones
- An older topic may not have much current material available -- check with your instructor if this is the case and he/she has a publication date restriction, they may allow you to use older material (books on historical topics may be examples of these). Having a combination of older and current resources on historical topics is usually best for a well-crafted speech.
- Your topic should lend itself to the type of speech you are giving
- It is very easy to stray into persuasion when you are giving an informative speech on a controversial topic.
Check out the PDF below on Concept and Mind Mapping -- these are visual ways of developing ideas. The image is from http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Concept-Map.
A. Technically, Wikipedia is not forbidden -- you just can't cite from it. It's a great place to start out looking for information on names, events, and organizations. Use it as a stepping stone to help you narrow your topic or to lead you to other references. Think of it like you would a Google search; afterall you would not cite the information you found in search as being from Google, but from the entry (or reference) you clicked on from the results list. Secondly, Wikipedia is a general encyclopedia and it's very seldom you would cite from a general encyclopedia at this stage in your research. For more reasons, check out the short article by Mark Moran called "The Top 10 Reasons Students Cannot Cite or Rely On Wikipedia" (who does cite from Wikipedia but in the correct manner to illustrate his point) which appears on FindingDulcinea.com.
Here is a short video that illustrates a few points about relying on Google & Wikipedia.
Just click on the image to play.
A. Here are ten places you can get help in the library.
- Stop by any of the desks in the library and the person at the counter can directly you the Reference Desk located on 2nd floor.
- Utilize our AskaLibrarian Service to chat with us. Clicking on the green Ask Us tab in Libguides will also get you to chat. When chat goes offline it switches over to e-mail so your question will be answered, just not immediately.
- Text us at (334) 458-0963 (we promise not to sell your number or spam you) for answers to quick questions. Again, when the Text service goes offline we switch it to e-mail so you may end up getting two answers -- one via text and one via e-mail.
- E-mail us at email@example.com and someone will get back to you.
- Contact a subject specialist directly. The list is a located on the Subject Specialist guide.
- Telephone us at (334) 844-1737 or (800) 446-0387 -- both numbers ring at the Reference Desk (remember the desk usually closes at midnight Sunday through Thursday).
- If you are a self-starter, check out the How-to @ the Library videos. I've listed a few on this guide, but they are all less than 3 minutes and filled with great information.
- Use our Subject Guides for more information.
- Use one of the Library partners like Study Partners, the Miller Writing Center, the OIT Help Desk, the Student PC Repair Shop, and soon the new branch of the AU Bookstore.
- Stop by Caribou Coffee at the Library for a great cup of coffee or a tasty muffin -- they are open to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.
A. Look at the articles in terms of authority, accuracy, purpose, objectivity (or bias) and currency. Something becomes credible because your evaluation of the source leads you to that detemination. Utilize the Evaluating Sources tab on the Comm 1000 class guide and pay particular attention to the questions in the table on Authority and Accuracy and start applying them when you evaluate, it will be a good start. As always, you can stop by the Reference Desk to get help in evaluating sources. You can find more information on evaluating sources on the Comm1000 Evaluating Sources tab; or,
Click on a node for more information:
A. Unfortunately, there is no magic ball that will tell you this because different instructors have differing opinions on what constitutes a library source – and they are all valid. If you are in doubt ALWAYS consult the instructor. Things that I know that are acceptable: anything that is contained within a database listed under the database labels on the Comm 1000 class guide. These are library sources – anything outside of a library database—check. If you discovered a resource through a Google or Wikipedia search chances are it will count as an internet source -- but there are exceptions. Sometimes substantial reports, like those the government or large organizations publishes in PDF format, have a better chance of being counted as a "non-internet" source. Again, you have to contact your instructor and make sure you justify the use by explaining your evaluation process.
A. I would have to answer "Yes" to your question; however, you may not be able to find books on the topic if it is extremely current. There is a definite chronology when it comes to a publishing cycle and it goes something like this:
- Breaking News – Internet, Broadcast news
- Within 24 hours – Daily Newspapers and Broadcast news
- Between 7 days to one month – Weekly Newspapers, Trade publications and Popular Press magazines
- Between 1-3 months – Monthly magazines and some Professional publications
- After 1 year – Books and many Scholarly publications
Lexis Nexis Academic and Access World News cover newspapers and will probably have content of an event within 24 hours. Masterfile Premier is a database that contains many popular press publications like weekly news magazines.