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WMST 130: Gender, Power, and Difference (Wambui)  

Last Updated: Jan 27, 2012 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Library Research: Overview

  • Identify your research topic. Test the topic by searching the Milne Library catalog and a few databases.  You may need to broaden or narrow your topic.  See also Tips and examples for writing thesis statements (From Purdue University).
  • Background information on a topic can often be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources. Reference sources provide background information on a topic, clarify definitions, and often include bibliographies at the end of an article. There are encyclopedias in the reference area on the first floor of Milne Library that cover most topics. 
  • Find books. Books often treat a topic more comprehensively than journal articles. Books can be a good place to find an overview of a topic. References to additional articles and books can often be found in a bibliography at the end of a chapter.
  • Find articles.  Since journal articles are often more focused than books, they may provide more specific information than books. References to additional articles and books can often be found in a bibliography at the end of an article. Information in journal articles is usually more current than information in books.
  • Find supplementary materials such as internet sites. Since articles found on the internet have rarely gone through the peer-review process, they must be carefully evaluated. 
  • Organize the findings.
  • Use the information to address the research topic, integrating the information you've found into a reasoned argument or presentation. Make sure you cite your sources in the appropriate format.

    Background Information

    Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks are authoritative sources for background information, important concepts, names, and dates.  Lists of books and articles for further reading are often included.
    • Reference Universe
      Reference Universe is tab on the Milne Library home page. It searches the indexes of both print and electronic reference books and provides both the library call number (where the book is located in the library) and the page number where the search term is located.
    • Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
      Good for background information. Provides up-to-date articles on philosophical themes (such as metaphysics, ethics, law); world philosophies (such as African, Japanese, Tibetan); periods; world religions (such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism). Provided by SUNY-Oneonta.
    • Opposing Viewpoints in Context
      Contains about 2000 viewpoint articles, 1000 topic overviews, 700 court case overviews, and 30 full text periodicals and newspapers. The Research Guide provides tips on analyzing issues with opposing viewpoints, distinguishing fact from opinion, evaluating information sources, and recognizing deceptive arguments. Provided by the New York State Library.

    Selected Reference Books

    Cover Art
    Battleground : women, gender, and sexuality - Amy Lind and Stephanie Brzuzy
    Call Number: REF HQ1115 .B38 2008
    Publication Date: 2008
    "Comprises lengthy, in-depth discussions of the most timely issues that are debated in today's culture, such as, birth control, comparable worth, disability and gender, glass ceiling, immigration, plastic surgery, tattooing, and piercing, same-sex marriage, and sexual assault and sexual harrassment"

    Cover Art
    Black women in America - Darlene Clark Hine, editor in chief
    Call Number: REF E185.86 .B542 2005
    "Explores the historical contributions of Black women to American life."

    Cover Art
    Dangerous curves:action heroines, gender, fetishism, and popular culture - Jeffrey A. Brown
    Call Number: REF PN1995.9.W6 B76 2011
    "Addresses the conflicted meanings associated with the figure of the action heroine as she has evolved in various media forms since the late 1980s."

    Cover Art
    Encyclopedia of gender and society - edited by Jodi O’Brien
    Call Number: REF HQ1115 .E54 2009
    "Contributions from almost 300 international scholars on many aspects of gender as it relates to society and on society as it relates to gender."

    Cover Art
    Pornography and Sexual Representation: A Reference Guide - Joseph W. Slade
    Call Number: Online
    "This first comprehensive guide to the literature includes the history of pornography in the United States and discusses pornography in a vast range of media."

    Cover Art
    The Women's Movement Today: An Encyclopedia of Third-Wave Feminism - Leslie L. Heywood
    Call Number: REF HQ1115 .W644 2006
    "Introduces the third wave's key issues, members, visions, writings, and more—with essay entries on abortion to zines, with the Riotgrrrl group Bikini Kill, cyberspace, National Girls and Women in Sports Day, queer theory, and activist/writer Rebecca Walker in between."

    Where to Find Books

    Use the MilneCat search box under the Catalog tab on the library home page. MilneCat gives the location and availability of  books, videos, compact discs, reserves, and other materials. It does NOT have information about individual journal articles.

    For books in Milne, note the call number for the item and consult Library Floor Plans to determine the location of the item. For online books, follow the link to Electronic Book or Online Item.

    To view detailed information about an item, click on the number link on the left of the entry. Availability is shown by numbers to the right  (e. g. 1/0). The first number is the number owned by the library; the last number is how many are checked out.

    Subjects are listed at the bottom of the detailed entry. These subjects will link to other materials on the same exact subject. 

    The BASIC SEARCH allows you to search by fields such as (Words Anywhere, Words in Title, Words in Author, Subject begins with). "Words Anywhere" searches are useful if you do not know the precise subject, title or author. If you are unsure of the ending of a word or wish to search the stem of a word, use the wildcard symbol  * . 

    The ADVANCED SEARCH allows limiting by language, collection, document type, year.

    If you do not find the item on the shelf, ask at the Circulation Desk to see if the book has been checked in and is waiting to be shelved. If still not available, complete a “Search” card for the item. A staff member will look for the item and notify you of the results. Items in circulation can be requested on interlibrary loan from another library. 
    Hartwick College  (link is located under "Other Catalogs" under the Catalog tab on the library home page)
    SUNY Oneonta students may borrow materials with a valid SUNY ID card.
    • Google Books
      Google has digitized hundreds of thousands of books, including scholarly books from several large academic libraries. Google Books searches the entire contents of books, not just the title, author, and subject headings. To get a copy of a book found in Google Books, follow the link "Find a Library". This will connect you to WorldCat to see if Milne has the book. If Milne Library does not have it, use the Request via Interlibrary Loan link in WorldCat.
    • WorldCat (OCLC FirstSearch Legacy Interface--requires signon from off-campus)
      The FirstSearch version of WorldCat has more search options than the version under the tab on the library home page. WorldCat is a comprehensive database of materials owned by libraries world-wide. Most books are available through Interlibrary Loan.

    Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journal Articles

    Like the index in the back of a book that helps you locate specific content within the book, journal and newspaper indexes make it possible to find an article on a specific topic without leafing through numerous issues. For academic research, it is often important to use peer-reviewed (or refereed) journals rather than popular magazines. Peer-review is the process by which a journal article is evaluated by experts in the field before publication. An example of a peer-reviewed journal is Evaluation and Research in Education. An example of a popular magazine is Newsweek.

    Discussion: Scholarly Journal Articles vs. Popular Magazine Articles 


      Best Databases to Begin a Search

      The databases below (except for Google Scholar) are all located on the Milne Library home page under the "Databases" tab.

      • Academic OneFile
        Indexes about 13,000 scholarly journals across most academic subject areas from 1980 to the present. Over 38,000,000 articles are available, with some full-text. Includes GALE Diversity Studies Collection and GALE Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Life & Issues Collection.
      • Academic Search Complete
        Full text for about 8,500 periodicals including over 7,300 peer-reviewed journals across most areas of academic study as well as indexing and abstracts for more than 12,500 magazines and journals. Coverage is from 1887 to the present. Provided by SUNYConnect. Youtube

      • Ethnic NewsWatch
        Features full-text newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press with titles dating from 1990. Contains about 2 million articles from more than 300 publications with both national and regional coverage. Provided by SUNY-Oneonta.
      • Gale Diversity Studies Collection
        A subset of Academic OneFile. This collection explores cultural differences, contributions and influences in our global community. Includes more than 150 journals. Coverage is about from 1996 to the present. Provided by the New York State Library.
      • GenderWatch
        Offers authoritative historical and current perspectives on the evolution of gender roles as they affect both men and women. Coverage is from 1970 to the present. Provided by SUNY-Oneonta.
      • Google Scholar
        Does not search the same content as Google, but rather, concentrates on scholarly journal articles and books. Full text is available for many articles due to Milne Library subscriptions.

      Other Databases

      The databases below are all located on the Milne Library home page under the "Databases" tab.

      • Family Studies Abstracts
        Abstracts related to family studies, including families, marriage, divorce, and family therapy. Contains over 50,000 records. Provided by SUNY-Oneonta.
      • JSTOR archive
        Full text of about 1400 core scholarly journals across most subject areas. The objective of JSTOR is to provide all issues back to Volume 1, Issue 1. Although some current titles are included, the most recent 3-5 years are generally unavailable due to copyright restrictions. Provided by SUNY-Oneonta. Youtube
      • Opposing Viewpoints in Context
        A good place to search for ideas for a research topic. Contains about 2000 viewpoint articles, 1000 topic overviews, 700 court case overviews, and 30 full text periodicals and newspapers. The Research Guide provides tips on analyzing issues with opposing viewpoints, distinguishing fact from opinion, evaluating information sources, and recognizing deceptive arguments.
      • Project Muse - Basic Undergraduate
        Full text of over 100 scholarly journals in fields including literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, political science, gender studies, and economics. Provided by SUNY Oneonta.
      • SocINDEX
        SocINDEX, a sociology research database, contains over 2,000,000 records. Provides abstracts for about 1300 "core" journals dating back to 1895 as well as indexing for more than 450 "priority" coverage journals and about 2000 "selective" coverage journals. Provided by SUNY Oneonta.
      • Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 (scholar's edition)
        Contains books, images, documents, scholarly essays, commentaries, and bibliographies documenting women's reform activities and social movements from 1600-2000. Provided by SUNY Oneonta.

      Where to Find the Full-Text of an Article

      If there is no full text with the citation for an article in a database, click on or Find It!. If full text of the article is available in another database, there will be a link connecting you to that database, where you can locate the article in the appropriate volume, or search for the article by title or author.

      You can also determine whether a journal is available electronically by entering the journal title in the search box under the Journals tab on the library home page and clicking on Search. If the title is available in electronic form, check the coverage, and click on the database link(s) and search for the item(s) needed. If the title is available in the library, click on "SUNY-Oneonta Print Holdings" and then on "Is it here?" to see the complete holdings.
      Locating the article in print or microfilm, if  not available in electronic form:
      If under "Links to Full Text," there is a link to the title, click on "Journal," and then on "Is it here?" Check "Summary holdings" to see if Milne Library has the particular issue needed and in what form the article can be found. Journals are located on compact shelving or in microfilm drawers on floor P.
      Requesting an article on Interlibrary Loan:
      If you find an article from a journal that is not available at Milne Library in any form after you have linked to "Check Library Catalog", you can request the article through the link Request via Interlibrary Loan  on the record for the article needed (see computer screen that comes up after you click on Find It!). You need to be registered to submit ILL requests. See a librarian for help. You can also request articles through the InterLibrary Loan login link on the library web site under the "Services" tab.

        Evaluating Web Sites

        *Anyone* can publish on the Internet. Therefore, it is important to learn to evaluate any information found on the net.

        Five points to consider in the evaluation of a web site: 

        1. AUTHORITY: Who is responsible for creating the page? Does the URL contain .edu (education), .gov (US government), .org (organization) .int (international organization)? Or does the URL contain  .com (commercial) or .biz (business)? Is it a personal site (.name)? (Country codes also may be part of a URL. See Domain name registries around the world.   It is possible to limit a search to a certain country by adding the country domain in Google: Advanced Search.)

        2. CURRENCY: Is there a date indicating when the page was created or updated? Is the information up to date? Are the links current and functional?

        3. COVERAGE: What is the purpose of the site? Does it address your research topic? Is it detailed or broad? What kind of information is it providing: historical? background? statistical? factual? conceptual? a study?

        4. OBJECTIVITY: Is the site expressing a slanted point of view or trying to sway your opinion?

        5. ACCURACY: Can you verify that the information is correct? Are the facts consistent within the page? Do they match up with what you found in print sources? Are sources for the information cited?


        • Wikipedia
          Although Wikipedia can be a good starting point for basic information, it is not necessarily reliable as most articles can be edited by anyone.(Some Wikipedia articles on controversial topics are "locked down" to prevent vandalism.) Make sure you verify the information in Wikipedia with several other sources. Some Wikipedia articles have useful bibliographies.
        • Errors in Wikipedia
          From a conservative viewpoint.
        • Wikipedia Timelapse
          YouTube video.


        Citations: How to Write a Bibliography. Covers both APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association) styles.

        Microsoft Office Word 2007 has a tab for managing references including endnotes, footnotes, and bibliographic citations. Not all types of citation are included. As a non-thinking piece of software, it can make mistakes, so it is important to check for accuracy. Many databases such as EBSCO also provide citation generation.



          When you use information from a book, article, or web site, don't forget to cite it in proper fashion! Remember to paraphrase and use your own language. For further tips see:

          Plagiarism- What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It (From Indiana University--Bloomington)

 is often used at the College at Oneonta to detect plagiarism.


            Need More Help?

            E-mail a question to a Milne librarian & get a response within 48 hours Monday through Friday.

            Schedule a research consultation with a librarian to discuss your research project in depth.

            Call the Research Help Desk at Milne Library at 607-436-2722.

            Visit the Research Help Desk in Milne Library.


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