Purpose: To acquaint you with materials in Cornette Library and on the World Wide Web that will make research for your assignment easier.
- Excellent place to start research.
- Provide background information.
- Include basic information sources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, chronologies, and research guides.
- History of the mass media in the United States : an encyclopedia
- P92.U5 H55 1998
- Brief section on ethics. Helpful primarily as an introductory source.
- World Almanac
- AY 67 .N5 W7 Ref.
- Most recent edition at the Reference Desk. An annual publication. Contains lists of various sorts and brief information on a number of topics. Also available online.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States
- HA 202 .A2 Ref.
- Most recent edition at the Reference Desk. Wide variety of statistics including employment, education, and economics. Also available online.
- Cornette Library's online catalog
- Includes books, government documents, videos, journal titles, etc. available throughout the Library. Suggested searches include:
- a keyword search for your subject, such as media ethics.
- the general LC subject heading Mass media--Moral and ethical aspects. .
- the LC subject heading for a specific time and place such as Mass media--Moral and ethical aspects. United States.
To determine the most appropriate subject headings for your search, refer to the red Library of Congress Subject Headings near the Reference computers in the Library or search the online Library of Congress Authorities Catalog.
- Online catalog for libraries around the world.
- Lists Cornette Library books along with many more in other libraries.
- Search by keyword, author, title, or subject.
- Request books not in Cornette Library through the pre-filled Interlibrary loan form. Allow at least two weeks for the books to arrive.
Provide current information
- Library shelves contain more than 1500 bound and current journals.
- Microform (film or fiche) available for dozens of leading newspapers, as well as other periodicals.
- Databases index articles found in journals and magazines.
- Citation only;
- Citation and a short summary of the article (abstract);
- Full text;
- General, covering many kinds of topics, and specialized, for specific disciplines.
- For this assignment be sure to use scholarly sources, not general interest magazines. The differences are important, for citation and for evaluating reliability.
How to Access Databases
- On-campus: In the library or HELC.
- Off-campus: Login with your Buff Advisor username (for example, js123456) and your Buff Advisor password (for example, buffaloes).
- Database citations not in full-text may be located in Cornette Library's online catalog, or the list of online journals.
- Use Interlibrary Loan to request articles inaccessible through Cornette library. Allow up to 3 weeks for articles to arrive.
- Academic Search Complete
- Contains abstracts and citations for a broad range of topics, with substantial full-text. Over 3,000 peer-reviewed sources.
- Business Source Complete
- Abstracts and citations for a broad range of topics in areas of business, management, marketing, and economics, with substantial full-text/
- Communications and Mass Media Complete
- Emphasis on communications and mass media issues. Includes Journal of Mass Media Ethics from 1985-present (1 year embargo on full-text).
Other Useful Library Online Resources
- Lexis Nexis Academic
- Includes transcripts of major broadcast shows. Also newspapers around the globe.
- infotrac Newsstand
- Includes full-text of thousands of newspapers, U.S and other.
- Displays in most of our databases. Links from a citation to one or more of the following:
- One or more links to full-text of the cited article,
- A link to a pre-set search of the Cornette Library catalog for the cited item,
- A link to a pre-filled Interlibrary Loan request form for the article, or
- A link to various help options.
- For more information see the tutorial Using SFX to Link to Articles
- Ask at the Reference Desk (first floor) or Periodicals Desk (second floor).
- Call 651-2215 during the hours Cornette Library is open.
- Use the "Ask A Librarian" form for electronic reference support.
All of these characteristics should be considered in evaluating any information source, whether it is a book; a magazine, newspaper or journal article; a government document; a web page; or an individual. Experience makes this process easier.
Goal: find information from knowledgeable sources.
- Who wrote the item?
Examples: Book or article author/s, Government agency, corporation.
- What are their qualifications?
Examples: Education, work or personal experience, organization mission.
- What else has this person or organization written about the subject?
Examples: other books/articles, extent of web site,
- Is the person or organization reputable?
Examples: How often is the author cited? Who else links to the web site?
Goal: find sources that specifically address your individual question.
- Does the item relate to your specific question, or is it misfocused?
Example: an article about racism in South Africa would not be relevant to a research question like Does racism still exist in the 21st century United States?
- Does the item address all or a part of your topic?
Partial coverage from one source requires coverage from other sources.
Example: an article about racism in current college admissions MIGHT be helpful for a paper on racism in 21st century America.
- May require scanning an entire article, as titles aren't always informative. Use abstracts where available.
Goal: find information for the audience to be addressed.
- What age group is the item aimed at?
Example: Ranger Rick might be excellent for a teacher preparing elementary school activities, but not your freshman biology class.
- Is the item intended for a general or a specialized audience?
Examples: a speech to your fraternity would require different sources than a 30 page formal research paper.
- Is the item intended for scholars or the general public?
Example: National Geographic and Journal of Geophysics have very different audiences.
Goal: find accurate, reliable information.
A difficult judgment to make for a new subject. Part of the process will involve comparing one information source on the topic to others.
- Are sources provided so that you can verify the information?
Examples: footnotes, reference lists, links.
- How reliable are the sources?
See the authority discussion above.
- Is the journal peer-reviewed?
Examples: Not all scholarly sources are checked by other experts.
Goal: find information current enough to answer your research question.
Old sources can be fine for an historical question, but not for current events.
- What is the publication or creation date?
Example: books may be reprinted. Journals have publication dates. More authoritative web pages will have a clear "updated" date.
- Does the internal data reflect the same date as the creation date?
Example: a web page that states Clinton is the current president, but has a 2005 "updated" date isn't truly current.
Goal: find sources to address all sides of an issue. May require multiple sources representing differing viewpoints.
- Does the writer have a strong opinion on the issue?
Examples: NARAL Pro Choice America has a very different view of abortion than National Right to Life.
- Is that point of view obvious?
Example: The white supremacist underpinnings of Martin Luther King, Jr.: A true historical examination are not revealed unless the "hosted by" link is followed.
Cornette Library collects United States federal and Texas state documents on many topics.
- Most U.S. documents published since 1994 are listed in the Cornette Library's online catalog.
- For older documents, you will need to use the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications.
- We also have British Parliamentary Papers from 1731-1978/79 in microform.
Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications
- Indexes all United States government documents made available through the Government Printing Office.
- Includes Congressional reports, hearings, debates, and records; judiciary materials; documents issued by executive departments (Defense, State, Labor, Office of the President, etc.).
- Dates available include:
- Documents/Reference (1913-present).
- Online via FirstSearch. (1976-present)
- The World Wide Web is an excellent source of information.
- Not everything found on the Web is accurate.
- You must evaluate information on the Web.
- Searchable lists of annotated web sites, discussion lists, and electronic journals that have met specific selection criteria.
- Scout Report Archives
- Scholarly. Keyword or advanced search. Results listed by relevance.
- INFOMINE Scholarly Internet Resource Collections
- Scholarly. Keyword search or browse by general subject area. Can limit to free sites.
- ipl2 - "Information You Can Trust" (merger of Internet Public Library and Librarians' Index to the Internet)
- General public interest. Keyword search, or browse by general topic and subtopic.
Why must I cite the sources I use for research projects?
- To give credit to the author of the information you use.
- To avoid plagiarism (WTAMU Code of Student Life: Appendix I-Academic Integrity Code)
a serious offense that can result in failure or expulsion.
- So that others can verify the information.
- To assist others in doing their own research.
American Psychological Association (APA) Manual
- Dr. Osei-Hwere requires you to use Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
- A copy of this manual is located at the Reference Desk.
- Additional assistance is available from our Citation Basics web page.
- Suggestions for improvements?
- Particularly helpful items?
- Please email Linda Chenoweth.