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HIS 300 — [Fall 2010] Research and Writing

ATTENTION: This research guide was last modified on September 09, 2010, before the January 2012 redesign of the library's home page. Information on how to access journal articles, databases, and other library resources may be inaccurate or outdated.

For up-to-date instructions on accessing materials, please visit our tutorial pages instead.

Contact Information

Stewart Baker
sbaker@csudh.edu
(310)-243-2062
LIB SOUTH 2037O

Navigation

Getting Started

Basic Library Information

Finding Journal Articles at CSUDH

Off-Campus Access

Reference Collection

Useful Books & Ebooks

Useful Databases

Plagiarism

Scholarly Internet Research

General Research Tips


Getting Started


Start your research by going to the library home page.

Site Organization:

  • Main - Here you will find the most-used links and information
  • Use the Library - Links to pages which will help you use the library
  • Help - Basic Library Information and Help pages
  • Services & Depts. - Services the library offers and departmental web pages

Checking out books: You can see what books are available in the Torofind Library Catalog. Once you have found the books you want, bring them to the Circulation Counter on the second floor of Library North to check them out.  You will need a valid student ID card or a notification from Admissions & Records to check out books.

Click here for a tutorial on how to use the Torofind online catalog.

Library's Book Borrowing Policies

If the library does not have a book you need, you can request it via Inter-Library Loan!



Basic Library Information


Finding Journal Articles at CSUDH

You can get journal articles by going to the library home page and clicking the Journal Articles & Electronic Resources link under the "Find Journal Articles Now" heading. Click the heading that sounds the most like your situation.

Once you are in a database, you can start to search for your article. All databases' search options are slightly different, but they usually include several search boxes you can fill out. Most databases will also let you search only for peer-reviewed or scholarly journals. For your research papers, you will want to make sure you check this option!

Articles which you can read in that database will have a link to the PDF full text or the HTML full text. Click on that text link to read the article. Some databases also let you e-mail yourself the files by clicking on an e-mail link.

Some articles will say "Check Availability of Complete Article" instead of having links to the full text. If you see this, it means the text of that article is not in the database you are searching. But don't worry! By clicking the link which says this, you can see a list of which databases do have the full text. If there are no databases containing the article you want, you can request it via Inter-Library Loan.



Off-Campus Access

If you are using a computer that is on campus, you can access all of our electronic databases and ebooks without any further steps. Just click on the database name in the Database List and you will be sent immediately to the search screen.

If you are off campus, you will need to log in using your MyCSUDH Username and Password (the same thing you use to log in to Blackboard, MyCSUDH, and student e-mail). When you click on a database name from off-campus, you will see a screen asking you for this information.

After you enter your login information, you should be able to access any of our electronic databases and ebooks just like you would on campus.  If you have problems, try resetting your password.  If that doesn't work either, give the reference desk a call at (310) 243-3586 and we will help you troubleshoot.



Reference Collection

One of the services the library offers is a large collection of reference books.  These include encyclopaedias, historical dictionaries, and other introductory reference materials.  Although in most cases you will not want to use these as your only sources for a paper, they are often an excellent place to start your research.

The reference collection is located behind the reference desk on the second floor of the library's south wing (the new building).

For historical research about World War I, most books will be in the D500s.  However, as you will find by doing searches in the library's online catalogue, there are some books under other call numbers as well.  For example, International Socialism And The World War, although it is not a part of the reference collection, has a call number of HX, which is the section of call numbers used for Socialism.

If you do not understand how the call number system works, don't panic!  Stop by the reference desk and a librarian will be happy to assist you.



Useful Books & Ebooks

There are plenty of books in the library on World War I. Try the following search in the library's online catalog and you will see a list of books on World War I.

  • Go to the library's online catalog
  • In the drop-down menu to the left, select "Subject - Subject Words"
  • In the text area to the right, type in World War, 1914-1918
  • This will show you a list of related, more specific, subjects that are similar to your search
  • For a list of general World War I books, click the  World War 1914 1918 link
  • Once you have a list of books on the screen, you can sort your results with the drop-down menu at the right.
  • Select "Sort by year - newest to oldest" to see a list of books with the most recent books first.

The library also has several collections of ebooks: books that have been scanned in and which you can access from home using the library website. The main collection of ebooks is called ebrary. You can find it by clicking the "Find Journal Articles Now" header on the main library page, then selecting "E" for ebrary.

To add extra functionality to ebrary books, you can install the ebrary reader, available after logging into the database.

Links to ebooks that may be useful:

To find more, log in to ebrary and do a subject search for World War, 1914-1918



Useful Databases

America: History & Life
America: History & Life is the definitive database of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. With selective indexing for 1,700 journals from 1964 to present, this database is without question the most important bibliographic reference tool for students and scholars of U.S. and Canadian history. Strong English-language journal coverage is balanced by an international perspective on topics and events, including abstracts in English of articles published in more than 40 languages.

Academic Search Premier
This multi-disciplinary database provides full text for more than 8,500 journals, including full text for more than 4,600 peer-reviewed titles. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,000 titles.

JSTOR
JSTOR offers high-quality, interdisciplinary content to support scholarship and teaching. It includes over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work. 

Los Angeles Times Historical (1881- 1984)

The Los Angeles Times (1881-1987) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue.



Plagiarism

What is plagiarism? - Plagiarism is "The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft." (OED)

In essence, when you quote or paraphrase from somebody else's work without citing it, you are plagiarizing their work. Plagiarism is a serious matter, and could result in a lower or failing grade and even in your expulsion from university. Just rewording your work isn't enough to avoid plagiarism. Since you are still borrowing information heavily from another writer, you still need to include a citation.

But I didn't know! - Ignorance of the law is unfortunately no excuse. You can commit plagiarism without meaning to, and it's just as serious a problem if you do.

How can I avoid it? - You can avoid plagiarism by always citing your sources. Whenever you put a quotation or borrow information heavily from a source, be sure you include a citation in the proper APA style. This will let your professor know you aren't trying to pass the idea off as your own. Taking detailed notes on where you get your information helps a lot with this, since it prevents you from forgetting which is your own work and which is borrowed from others.

For more information, see your student handbook and this handout by Sheela Pawar at CSUDH



Scholarly Internet Research

Although for this class, you will not be using Internet sources, it is still useful to know how to find good ones.

Remember, not all web sites are created equally. Some sites can be valid sources of information, but others are filled with opinion represented as fact. While there isn't a 100% effective way to figure out what kind of site you're looking at, here are some guidelines to follow when using the internet for research:

  • Check Credibility - Is it easy to figure out who's behind the information? Does whomever it is know what they're talking about? Do they have qualifications in the field or some other reason to be trust-worthy in it?
  • Check Accuracy - Are the sources cited well? Is the information up-to-date? Are there any broad, sweeping generalisations that are impossible to verify?
  • Check Reasonableness - What is the page's point-of-view? Is it a corporate page trying to sell you a product? Is it a government or educational site where the main purpose is to educate people?
  • Check Support - Is it possible to double-check the information in another location?

Useful Scholarly Websites

INFOMINE is a virtual library of Internet resources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level. It contains useful Internet resources such as databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other types of information.

The Librarians' Internet Index aims to provide a well-organized point of access for reliable, trustworthy, librarian-selected websites, serving California, the nation, and the world. All links on the Index are selected and approved by librarians before inclusion.

For more information, check out our guide on Evaluating Web Resources



General Research Tips

Use multiple search terms - Remember, not every database or article uses exactly the same words to describe the same thing. Make sure you try several synonyms for the term you're trying to find. Most databases have a link titled "thesaurus" or "subject terms" which you can use to find out what words to search for.

Search in multiple places - The more places you look for information, the more information you're likely to find. Don't just search in one database and assume it's all you'll be able to find! Take a look at the list of Useful Databases earlier on in this page for where to start your search.

Ask for help - Don't be afraid to ask for help! Research can be an exhausting process, and sometimes a fresh perspective will make your task immensely easier. You can stop by the reference desk in the library and ask any of the reference librarians for help with your research. You can also submit an online help request which a librarian will answer within a day or two.

Don't leave it until the last minute - The earlier you start, the better your paper will be. Starting early gives you plenty of time to read and absorb the information so that you'll be properly informed when writing your paper.