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Box Repository: Why? Boxes

Repository of different types of boxes and content. Go into your guide and "Add New Box" and select "Reuse Existing Box" to link to boxes here. Boxes on your page will be updated automatically when box updates occur.

Why Articles?

Sample article

Question: What value lies in articles?  Why, for example, would a researcher choose a journal article over a book?

Answer: Journal articles offer recent, in-depth research on a topic and frequently focus on very narrow topics.

Why Biographies?

silhouette of man and woman

Question: What value lies in biographical information?

Answer: Biographies and autobiographies provide insights into individuals' lives and achievements.

Biographies come in all shapes and sizes: some offer just factual information (full name, birth and death dates, place of birth, career history, etc.) while others provide more in-depth essays as well as references for further reading.

When examining biographies, keep in mind who wrote and published the information and decide whether or not that author/publisher had any possible biases.

Why Book Reviews?

sample book reviews

Question: What value lies in book reviews?

Answer: Book reviews are a good measure of contemporary reaction to a work. They typically contain information about a book's plot, style, and quality of writing, as well as the author's credentials.   They may also give comparisons to other similar titles.

Book reviews can be as brief as one paragraph or several thousand words, but generally do not contain the kind of in-depth analysis found in literary criticism. 

Books are generally reviewed near the date of publication or within the first two years after publication.

Why Books?

rows of bookshelves

Photo by carvedintrees

Question: What value lies in books?  Why, for example, would a researcher choose a book over a journal?

Answer: Because of their length, books tend to provide more comprehensive treatment of a topic. Books can also be useful for providing footnotes to additional materials. 

Why Cite?

index card with citation notes

Index Card by Reeding Lessons, February 3, 2007 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Accessed: July 11, 2011


Question: Why cite sources?

Answer: Citing the sources you use supports your ideas, validates your argument, gives credit to the originator of the idea, leads readers to additional information about your topic, and helps prevent plagiarism.

Why Dissertations?

stack of dissertations

Question: What value lies in using dissertations, especially when they can sometimes be so hard to track down?

Answer: Dissertations and theses offer the latest research from graduate students, identifying trends in the field. 

As research tools, they are invaluable for their extensive bibliographies.

Why Google Books?

Question: Why would you use Google Book Search?

Answer: Google Book Search (unlike Diamond or WorldCAT) searches the full-text of the books in its inventory.  Diamond and WorldCAT are limited to searching only title, author, subject heading and other specific and limited information about a book.

Because Google Book Search lets you search within books, you can see a table of contents or an index or just a portion of a book.  You can then locate the book in a nearby library.

Google Book Search

Why Google Scholar?

Question: Why would you use Google Scholar?

Answer: Google Scholar identifies scholarly research materials from a broad range of subject areas.

Google Scholar offers a "cited by" feature - it will display a list of documents which cited the document you originally retrieved. This can be useful in determing how influential a source has been.  The list only includes documents available in Google Scholar, though.

Look for the Find Full-Text @ TU link to access available full-text articles.  Or, go into the preferences of Google Scholar and select Temple University from Library Links.

Google Scholar Search

Why Journals?

sample scholarly journals

Question: What value lies in journals? Why, for example, would a researcher choose a journal over a book?

Answer: Journals are often the best way to learn about the latest research in a discipline.

The articles are written by scholars and can cover very specific topics or narrow fields of research in the field.  The bibliographies included often point to other relevant research.

Since journals are published on a regular or periodic basis, they are sometimes called "periodicals."

Why News?

stack of newspapers

Question: What value lies in news sources?  Why would a researcher choose a newspaper or magazine over a book or scholarly journal article?

Answer: News sources can be great resources for local information.  They can supply names, dates, facts and figures. along with quotes. Ultimately, news sources are valuable for their immediacy, recording events as they happen.

Why Reference?

individual consulting a book

Question: What value lies in a reference work? Why, for example, would a researcher bother to consult a scholarly encyclopedia?

Answer: Reference works help researchers contextualize their topics and in turn begin to ask the right questions. They set the stage for more efficient database searching; researchers cannot elicit relevant search results if they don't know which search terms to use.

Reference works also contain bibliographies that lead researchers to the most respected secondary and most useful primary sources on a topic.

In short, reference works are a great way to begin your research.

Why Stats?

bar graph

Question: What value lies in statistics?  Why would a researcher use statistical or polling information?

Answer: Statistics can be very persuasive.  They can help clarify and put an argument into perspective.  Keep in mind, though: statistical data is only as good as the people who create it, the quality of their work, and how well they relay their personal or organizational bias.  

Why Trade Journals?

stack of trade journals

Question: What value lies in trade journals?  Why would a researcher choose a trade journal over a newspaper or even a scholarly journal?

Answer: Trade journals can be great resources for behind-the-scenes industry information because they report on trends, new products, and techniques useful to people already in that trade or business. The articles are short in length and can supply names, dates, facts and figures, along with quotes.

Why the Web?

Question: What value lies in searching the "free" Web?

Answer: The "free" Web can be a good research source for:

  • finding current information and news
  • finding basic information about companies, people, events, etc.
  • finding information from all levels of government - federal to local
  • finding both expert and popular opinions

    It can also be a good way to find material out of which you can formulate a research question.

    While the free Web is a good tool for finding information, it is often not the best place to begin academic research.

    Why PA/Philly Sources?

    Question: What value lies in using state and/or city-produced information?

    Answer: Some information concerning the state of Pennsylvania or the city of Philadelphia is only available from the departments, committees, organizations, and programs that produce it. 

    Why Temple Sources?

    Question: What value lies in using Temple-produced information?  Why, for example, would a researcher interview a Temple administrator or use a department's annual statistics?

    Answer: Some information concerning Temple University and its students, staff, and faculty is only available from the departments, organizations, and programs that produce it. 

    Determine which departments or programs on campus might have a connection to your topic, and review the information they provide -- from websites, press releases, annual reports, etc.  Then, determine someone from that department or program who you can contact for further information.

    Why Visual Aids?

    Question: What value lies in incorporating visual aids in your speeches?

    Answer: Visual aids can clarify information for the audience, and help you, as the presenter, focus on the topic at hand. 

    Visual aids make your presentation a little more interesting for the audience; they break up the monotony.  Visual aids can also help you as the presenter feel more at ease and help you when you're drawing a blank.

    Primary vs. Secondary

    Archival letters

    Primary sources are firsthand accounts of an event - or original records created during its time period - which do not contain any outside interpretation. Examples include:

    • letters, diaries, interviews
    • historical news reportage
    • original works of fiction, art, or music
    • original research or data
    • testimony or speeches

    Primary sources are usefel because they give researchers a better understanding of an event, written by someone who experienced or witnessed the event in question.

    Secondary sources are one step removed from the original event.  They provide criticism or interpretation of a primary source.

    For more information, check out this video.

    Periodical Directories

    Image of rolodex

    Periodical directories can help you:

    1. Learn more about a specific journal (scope, publishing history, circulation, etc.)
    2. Identify other journals in the field

    Two good periodical directories for Literary Studies include:

    CRL Catalog

    A library's library...

    Search the Center for Research Libraries' (CRL) catalog to find vast collections of books, newspapers, microforms, journals, foreign dissertations, and other materials.  Request items via Interlibrary Loan.

    Organize Your Citations

    RefWorks is a web-based personal database for storing, organizing, formatting, and sharing your citations.

    Never type a bibliography again!

    Other Citation Organization Tools

    Accessing Public Records

    Public records may or may not be online.  It often depends upon the state or country resources from which the records originated.  You may need to contact or visit the physical location, such as a county court house, in order to actually see the records.  Check online first, but be prepared to call or travel to the location if necessary.

    Public Records & Libraries

    Libraries typically do not have any more access to public records than you do; however, libraries do subscribe to specialized databases that help with some kinds of proprietary information, such as corporate and industry profiles. 

    Good Sources for Locating Public Records

    • Large public libraries (often have local historical and genealogical sources)
    • Historical societies
    • Archives
    • County courthouses
    • City Hall of any municipality
    • State agencies, such as Dept of Health, Dept of Motor Vehicles, etc.

    Confidential or Private Records

    Public access to records such as employee records, student transcripts, patient health records, etc. may be restricted by the agency holding them; an FOIA request may be requred. You can usually see your own records by request with proof of identification.

    -- Content adapted from Diana Nichols, Journalism Librarian at Ohio University