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POL 4800 - Senior Seminar (Flaherty)

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Top 10 Advanced Research Tips

Tip #1: Take time to really think about your topic. Break it down into key concepts. Connect key concepts with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) in order to make search statements.

Tip #2: It is important to use synonyms or related words when you search by keyword. Those additional terms will help broaden your search. Use a databases' thesaurus feature, or a reference source to help you locate additional subject terms for the concepts you are researching.

Tip #3: Finding statistics and datasets can be challenging. Start by browsing some of the statistical sources listed on your guide. Many of these resources collect and disseminate huge collections of political science-related data, produced by the United States federal government, other agencies, and associations in the field.

Tip #4: Google Scholar and MACKsearch are great discovery tools! Use them in addition to searching McQuade's databases. If you are off campus you will need to set your Scholar Preferences so that Google will provide a link to material that McQuade owns.

Tip #5: Why not search directly in a specific mental health journal? See course guide for a sampling, or ask your professor for some recommendations. Run some searches specifically in those journals in addition to searching in databases.

Tip #6: When doing a comprehensive review of the literature: "backwards is forward." Look at the bibliography or works listed in quality articles and books that you find and follow that trail to locate more information!

Tip #7: If the article you want is not available in the online databases, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan. These requests can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to arrive, depending on where the lending library is located and how the items are sent. Plan ahead!

Tip #8: An exhaustive literature search should eventually bring you to the point where you are seeing the same key articles, books, and papers cited over and over again.

Tip #9: Keep track of the sources you find and where you find them. Most databases we subscribe to offer citation generation, saving, and/or export functions. The library offers citation management tools such NoodleBib.

Tip #10: Don't hesitate to talk with a librarian at any point in the research process – set up an appointment.

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