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Library Guides

Get Started with Research

Welcome to the Margaret Estes Library at LeTourneau University

New to the library?  Use this guide to help you get started with your academic research utilizing the tools and resources available.

Library Resources

  • Books give you in-depth information on a topic.

  • Books are good sources for information that happened in the past or interpretive information for an on-going event or problem.

How do I find books in the library?

*The library uses the Library of Congress system to organize the books on the shelves.  It is an alpha-numberic system.  Each item in the library has a label on the spine of the book with letters and numbers (together called a call number) which indicates its place on the shelf.  The letters indicate a subject area and the numbers which follow further subdivide the broader topic into more specific categories.

 

 

 

Reference books are a great starting point to get an overview of a topic.  These include:

  • Encyclopedias

  • Dictionaries

  • Yearbooks

  • Handbooks/Manuals

  • Directories

  • Atlases

  • Almanacs

  • Bibliographies

  • Biographical Dictionaries

  • Quotation Dictionaries

How do I find Reference books in the library?

  • Search WorldCat Discovery.
  • Use the call number to locate the book on the shelf in the Reference section of the library.

The books in the REFERENCE section of the library cannot be checked out.  These are for in-library use only!

Have you tried out these reference databases?

What are course reserves?

The reserve service in the library assists faculty by making more readily available those resources which multiple students must use intensively for a short period of time or repeatedly throughout the semester.  Resources placed on reserve by instructors may be marked as unable to be checked out (so others can have access) or specified with one-, two- or three-night check out privileges.

How do I access course reserves?

You will probably use these books at some point, ask about them at the circulation desk. Students may access the course reserves by presenting their student i.d. card at the circulation desk. The professor designates the circulation policy of the resource.  Some resources are for library use only while others may be checked out daily or weekly.  You can also search the Course Reserves by course, professor, or department.

What is a periodical?

Periodicals are magazines, scholarly journals, newspapers, and newsletters, published in regular intervals- daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.

  • Magazine: A magazine is a collection of articles and images about diverse topics of popular interest and current events. Usually these articles are written by journalists or scholars and are geared toward the average adult.
  • Journal: A journal is a collection of articles usually written by scholars in an academic or professional field. An editorial board reviews articles to decide whether they should be accepted.
  • Newspaper: A newspaper is a collection of articles about current events usually published daily. It is a great source for local information.

You should use academic journals for college research and writing.

 

 

Comparing Popular, Scholarly, and Trade Periodicals

 

Popular

Scholarly

Trade

Authority/Authorship

  • Mostly journalists
  • Scholars in an academic or professional field (i.e. doctors, lawyers, educators)
  • Staff writers, industry specialists, and contributing authors

Intended Audience

  • Average adult
  • General public
  • Scholars or professionals in a particular discipline, field of study, or trade (psychology, medicine, law, etc.)
  • Practitioners and professionals in a specific industry, trade, or organization

Content

  • General interest
  • Popular culture
  • General news
  • Entertainment
  • Original research (such as scientific experiments, surveys and research studies)
  • Critical analysis of topics relative to the profession
  • Charts, diagrams, and/or tables showing data or experiment results are often included
  • Industry related news, trends, techniques, product reviews, statistical data, upcoming events, and more

Level of Language

  • "Everyday" vocabulary/terms
  • Meant to be easily understood by all audiences
  • Specialized vocabulary
  • Terms and concepts specific to a particular discipline or field of study
  • Use vocabulary relevant to an industry, trade or organization

References or Bibliography of Sources

  • Very rarely are any sources listed
  • A list of references or sources is provided at the end of each article
  • Some, but not all, articles contain a list of sources

Review Policy

  • Articles are reviewed by the magazine's editor or editorial staff
  • An editorial board, composed of experts in the field, reviews articles to decide whether they should be accepted
  • Also known as "refereed," "peer-reviewed," "professional," or "academic"
  • Articles are reviewed by the publication’s general editorial staff

Advertisments

  • Almost always and in high quantities
  • Occasionally, but highly specialized and specific to scholarly discipline (i.e. specific laboratory equipment, medical tools and drugs)
  • Advertising almost always present
  • Ads relate to relevant industry, trade, or organization

Examples

  • Time
  • Newsweek
  • People
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Stone Soup
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Journal of American Studies
  • College Composition and Communication
  • Journal of Business Administration
  • Annual Review of Plant Biology
  • Nature
  • Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Advertising Age
  • American Libraries
  • Chronicle of Higher Education
  • American Nurse
  • PC Week

 

Why Should You Use Scholarly Sources?

In all disciplines, knowledge is built by responding to the ideas and discoveries of those who came before us. Scholarly journal articles are unique in that they require authors to document and make verifiable the sources of the facts, ideas, and methods they used to arrive at their insights and conclusions. Scholarly articles also strive to identify and discuss the merits of alternative explanations and viewpoints for the positions they espouse. This makes it easier to assess the truth, as well as the strengths and weaknesses, of the claims made in a paper. This is the case for those with knowledge of a subject (for example, your professor), as well as for those just beginning to learn about a subject (for example, you).

As you know, anyone can say just about anything in articles posted on the web. While you might agree with the conclusions of a paper found on the web, you are often not given the chain of evidence you need to assess the truth of those conclusions. Likewise, articles published in popular magazines, while they provide information and opinions, are not required to document evidence that either supports or negates their conclusions. Scholarly journal articles, unlike web-based or popular magazine articles, are designed and structured to provide the elements necessary to most thoroughly evaluate the validity and truth of an author's position.

The library offers access to several eBook collections and individual titles. These collections cover a variety of disciplines including business, economics, technology, engineering, humanities, arts, and sciences.  

What is an eBook?

An electronic book (also e-book, ebook, eBook, digital book) is a book made available in digital form and designed to be read using special eBook software, some of which preserve the book's original layout and design. EBooks can be read on a variety of PCs (desktops, notebooks, tablets, and handhelds), PDAs, and dedicated eBook readers using specifically designed eBook software. 

How do I access eBooks at LETU?

 

Major eBook Collections

 

 

Free eBooks on the Web

What is a research database?

Databases contain academic research materials such as peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers, news paper articles, magazines, and other sources.  Within each of the major databases, you can find specific disciplinary collections such as Engineering, Science and Technology, Nursing, Education, etc. 

 

 

How do I access LETU research databases?

 

Major Research Databases

 

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