ECON 303: History of Economic Thought: Research Tips

Google Scholar

Search Google Scholar for scholarly articles and books. You can see what item are in Western Libraries by setting Scholar Preference Library Links to Western Washington University.

Google Scholar Search

Using the Databases

Research Tips

Use Keywords. Use key points or keywords to find articles, not phrases or sentences.

  • If you type "What are the behaviours of people who play online games" into a database, it will try to find every word--and it won't find anything.
  • Pull out the main points of the sentence and search for those: behaviour and games

Start Broad. Start with a more general search and narrow it as you go.This will allow you to see what is available and give you some more general information and contect to your search.

  • Database searching isn't what you are used to. The more words you add to a databse search, the fewer results you get. The more words you add to a Google search, the more results you get.
  • Use the database to narrow your search. Use suggested terms to focus your search. Look at the subject terms for the article. THese will give you other ideas and words to use for a more focused search.

Use Wikipedia. Yes, use Wikipedia. Start your research at the Wikipedia, but don't stop there.

  • You need some background info to start a search and the Wikipedia is a good place to get a quick overview of a topic.
  • Look at the references. Many Wikipedia entries have numerous references. Check those references for more information and to see where the info in the Wikipedia entry came from. 
  • If something in the Wikipedia seems wrong or "off," check the history of the entry and look for supporting evidence in other resources.

Library Catalog

What can you find in the catalog? books, journals, CD, DVDs, etc.

What can't you find in the catalog? Journal or magazine articles. If you are looking for an article, try looking in one of the article databaes, like Ebsco's Academic Search Complete.

Books can be checked out for twenty-one days, DVDs for seven. More information on lending policies can be found here.

You can see your library record (what you have checked out and when it is due) online. You can renew material online, too.

Summit Catalog

Summit is a catalog that searches other academic libraries in Washington and Oregon. If Western doesn't have a book you need, you can request an item from Summit and have it delivered to the circulation desk in Haggard Hall.

Use the same search tips you used for the catalog. You can duplicate a search in Summit directly from Western's Catalog by clicking on the "Repeat search in Summit link at the top of the page.