Articles in scholarly journals are particularly important to college-level research. Search for articles in databases and look for an option to limit your search to peer-reviewed or scholarly journals.
Databases can also include magazine & newspaper articles. Although not scholarly, these articles can provide current news or different points of view.
Want to see if Colby has access to a particular magazine or journal? On the Colby Libraries home page click on the "Journals and Articles" tab.
Once the orange bar has moved down, enter the publication's name in the search box.
Find an item of interest using a keyword search? Look at its item record to identify Subject Terms. These links group material together by topic which can yield more precise results. Sample subject headings:
Note that searching a broad subject in CBBcat can lead to a further list of sub-divisions. These can be helpful in focusing your research.
Check the notes, references and bibliographies of every relevant article or book. You may discover a book or article perfect for your topic. One good source can lead to another!
Photo: The Look, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Don't use regular Google to find scholarly material - Use library databases or the library catalog. However, Google, used carefully, can help find alternative voices, community organizations and digital collections. Check with your professor if unsure about assignment requirements.
Search precisely - Beware of common words or words that have multiple meanings. Specify as much as possible, but also explore alternative phrasing. Do pre-research to find names of relevant and reliable online publications and blogs.
Use "Advanced Search" - On your Google search results page, click on Settings. The "Site or Domain" field can be useful in limiting your results to government information (.gov) or items created at educational institutions (.edu).
Use "Tools" - On your Google search results page, click on Tools > All Results > Verbatim. This can help focus your results. Limiting by date can get you items with greater currency.
Evaluate Extremely Carefully! - Investigate every source by doing separate searches of source creators, authors and publications. Every source you interact with is a conversation. With whom are you talking? What are their values and motivations? Are they getting their information from reliable sources and interpreting evidence fairly and intelligently? Who is the intended audience?
Know the Limitations of Web Searching - Most scholarly articles are either not found by search engines or are behind paywalls. Information is sorted and ranked according to commercial/consumer/popular considerations. Information is not vetted for accuracy or reliability.
SEARCH our library catalog
Books in Miller, Olin or Bixler Library? Ask for directions at a library Service Desk.
Books at the Colby Storage Facility, Bates or Bowdoin? To order click
You will be notified by email when your request is available to pickup at the Miller Service Desk.
Not finding what you want in CBBcat?
Look on the CBBcat search result page for a link to MaineCat, which expands your search to other Maine libraries.
Not sure if a book is scholarly? Check with your professor or a librarian.