Summary of Recent Orientations for Graduate Students
Many graduate courses for the School of Education have research projects that are coming into focus at this point in the term. Permit me to summarize the points I have covered in recent webinars with a few links and comments below.
First tab on our frontpage interface. Search using keyword1 AND keyword2. Observe that the majority of books retrieved are ELECTRONIC format. Some can be downloaded (from vendors eBrary & IGI) but most require you to have an active browser connection to read. Online students may request hard-copy books using the blue "Request Item" button in the upper left of the detailed individual book record. Special search tips: for just ebooks on your topic try searching keyword1 AND electronic. For one of our many many specialty encyclopedias try searching: keyword1 AND encyclopedia.
Books and More:
Also known by its vendor product name "Summon" this is not one database, but a discovery tool that includes the content of practically every online database to which the Library subscribes. Similar to an e-commerce search, it retrieves a high volume of results that can then be refined using the left-hand side check-box filters. Try a sample search right now in another browser tab, then come back to read the rest of this entry.
SYNTAX TIP: If your topic is best expressed by an exact phrase, be sure to include those words within quotation marks. For example: "no child left behind."
You've got some results? Probably more than you expected. Remember - this includes ALL of our online literature databases. Before looking over your results, be sure to try the left-hand side filters to "Limit to articles from scholarly publications." That's typically a good idea for term paper research. Then look lower on the left hand side of the page. See the short "Subject Terms" list related to your what you searched? Click the link at the end of that list of subjects for "more" - see the small pop-up window.
Study this longer "Subject Terms/more" list of options carefully. Scrolling from the top to bottom of this little window, you see the indexing terms associated with the articles your initial keyword search has retrieved, sorted by how often these terms showed up among your articles. This list becomes a customized subject index to your topic. Looking up and down the list should give you a sense of what subtopics occur within the overall area in which you are searching. Usually you will be trying to narrow your broad initial results, so I recommend choosing just one or two of the terms by clicking their checkboxes to include.
If no subtopics seem useful, you may benefit from trying to express your keyword search from a different angle, using completely different keyword terms. Be sure to repeat the "Subject Terms/more" list of options after choosing new keyword terms. Try using different combinations of keywords, phrases within quotes and subject terms. Be on the lookout for new terms that can help make your search more precise. It is likely to require repeating your search several times.
Too few results? Try the checkbox option near the top left of the results screen to "Expand results bey0nd Drexel's collection." This will yield citations for articles we *do not* have in full text, but can most likely be obtained through Inter Library Loan.
While reviewing your results, observe how you can mark or "like" individual articles by clicking the icon in the upper right of each citation so a green checkmark icon becomes visible. These articles will remain marked for the duration of your search session - and will vanish if you close your active browser window. But you can perform multiple searches, and then look in the lower right of the screen for the link to "My Saved Search Results" folder. Within your results folder are links to full text, and you can convert citations to APA or MLA format as well as email yourself, or export your citations to RefWorks or other citation management service. More on how to use RefWorks here.
The education repository from the U.S. Department of Education is indispensable, containing abstracts of published scholarly articles and full text of self-published reports. The interface is very intuitive, and I recommend using this platform if Summon (Articles & More) described above is proving unproductive. The ERIC Thesaurus can provide marvelous insight into the industry-insider terminology used to describe your research area. Using what ERIC calls "descriptors" you can determine whether to search "educational technology" or "technology in education" for best results? If you find articles here that are desirable, just look up the titles in Summon (Articles & More) back on the Drexel Libraries website to get full text.
More details and fancy screenshots to come. But that's the bulk of what we covered!