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Library Resources to Support Online Learning: Online Research Help

Databases - which one should I search?

MCC has access to nearly 135 databases. Many students do well to start their search in the MCC Search box below. Off campus, you will be prompted for a library username and password - see Off Campus Access to Library Resources on this page. MCC Librarians have also worked to select the most appropriate databases to search for specific subjects and courses in our Subject Guides and Course Guides. Look for them on the right side of the MCC Library homepage

 

MCC SEARCH

Searching the Databases

When you're searching in a database, be sure to use KEYWORDS. These are terms related to the main points of your topic. Below is an example for opioid treatment. 

Before you begin looking at the results, be sure to limit the search. Make sure you checked FULL TEXT and the years are related to your research. Also, you're able to choose the types of sources as well. So if you need newspaper articles, you could limit to just newspapers. Remember if you need scholarly articles, check peer reviewed. Scholarly = academic = peer reviewed. 

You found an article you like, now what? Be sure you read the ABSTRACT or the summary of the article first. Ask yourself two questions: will this article help you with your research and do you understand it? It'll save you time reading an article that won't help you. If the article helps, then you could save it by download the PDF full text, save it to your Google Drive, or email it to yourself. 

Using the MCC Libraries' Databases

The video below was recorded during a live stream for a course much like yours.  This video will introduce you to some of the practice and theory behind successful higher ed research in databases.  You absolutely can do this—and, you should.  In the video we talk about how using these research tools can really make your course research much more efficient and effective.  These tools help you to narrow in on exactly what it is that you need, rather than having tens of thousands of results dumped on you and then having to sift through them.  What's more, these resources also give you the information that you need to do your citations and your annotated bibliography.  Take a look.

 

The Media Bias Chart

Evaluate your news sources for Bias.

Media Bias Chart version 5.1

Off Campus Access to Library Resources

 

Video Button: Library Login from Off Campus - MCCLibVids FAQ

Students use their A# and a library password  (usually their birthday in a  MMDDYYYY format - ie . 03162001)

Make sure you enter a capital "A" for your A#.

Faculty use MCC username or library barcode together with their library password.

Faculty and staff who need a library account, please email mcclibrary@middlesex.mass.edu

Citing Sources

You need to cite your sources to give credit to the original authors of the books, articles, webpages etc that you used to write your papers. 

NoodleTools Logo 

NoodleTools is a web application that creates, punctuates, and formats a work cited page in MLA, APA or Chicago/Turabian styles. It is often referred to as Noodlebib.

APA Format

MLA Format

Evaluating Sources

CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Use the CRAAP Test to evaluate your sources.

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?

  • Has the information been revised or updated?

  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?

  • Are the links functional?   

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?

  • Who is the intended audience?

  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?

  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?

  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?

  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?

  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?

  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?

  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?

  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

    •  examples:

      • .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government)

      • .org (nonprofit organization), or

      • .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?

  • Is the information supported by evidence?

  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?

  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?

  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?

  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?

  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?

  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?

  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?

  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Scholarly / Peer Reviewed

What is a scholarly or peer reviewed journal article? This video tutorial will explain.

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