I had the pleasure of making a presentation to the Faculty of Education graduate students enrolled in Dr. Catharine Dishke Hondzel's Diverse Traditions: Approaches to Educational Research (ED9778-002) on Tuesday night.
Here is a recap of the topics I covered with the graduate students:
We always recommend researchers start their search at the Western Libraries' website.
After reminding the students to type in their Western username and password in the Off-Campus Access boxes on the Western Libraries website, we talked about the website default search engine, Summon.
I demonstrated specific features of the library catalogue by conducting a title search. The catalogue is found in a couple of places on the library website. We choose the link to the catalogue from along the top bar of options. I selected Research Methods and Methodologies in Education (the textbook for this particular course) as an example of a book title search.
Looking at the catalogue record we talked about the location, call number and status of the book. I showed the students how to sort by publication date and how to limit to a specific library location. Both of these features are invaluable time-saving strategies. The final aspect of the catalogue that I emphasized was the "clickable" subject headings that provide further research resources for the researcher. The two subject headings for this book were Education -- Research -- Methodology (yielded an additional 146 items) and Education -- Research. (yielded an additional 472 items).
The discussion of subject headings lead naturally to a discussion about finding and using keywords in the research databases. I encourage the graduate students to read Dr. Robert Sandieson's research article noted in their course outlines.
Emerging scholars are expected to use the research tools (e.g., Summon, library catalogue and databases) provided by Western to find supporting evidence for their own scholarly work and in order to complete assignments. Databases are keyword friendly so a researcher can easily get started but most databases also provide suggested keywords and/or a thesaurus to assist students in finding a variety of different ways to describe their research.
It was noted that Google is fine for planning a vacation (Montreal!) but not for doing extensive graduate-level research. Google Scholar may be a useful starting point but we always recommend the use of the research databases.
On the Western Libraries website DATABASES are listed under RESEARCH on the library website. Students can choose databases from an alphabetical or subject list of databases. The subject list of databases is a great place to look if you are new to a field and you are unsure of which databases would be most suited to your topic. Western Libraries PROGRAM GUIDES are a good place to start your research.
I briefly chatted about the long and storied history of the ERIC database. It was more than a decade ago but I still clearly remember the cold day in December we were notified that all 17 of the ERIC Clearinghouses were abruptly closed. It was sad day for educational researchers.
I suggested the students also search: CBCA Education, Dissertations and Theses, ProQuest Education Journals and PsycINFO. I demonstrated (and most students followed along) using the ProQuest Education Journals databases. I talked briefly about my own research interests and provided a demonstration searching using "adult learning" and mentor*. We analyzed the RESULTS LIST and got to the point where we could read the full text of an article on the screen.
We also talked about creating an annotated bibliography and I recommended a help page created by our University of Toronto colleagues.
Finally, I also explained the RefWorks and InterLibrary Loan (RACER) options available from the Western Libraries website. I fielded many excellent questions from these graduate students and I was able to answer almost all of them.
I assured the graduate students that HELP is always available. I am available for personalized research consultations. The Education Library academic librarians can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Further and more intensive research help is available to all of the graduate students when they make a personal follow-up research consultation appointment with me. It was a pleasure to meet these students and to working with Catharine. Good luck to one and all.
I also promoted the Education Library's professional Facebook and Twitter pages and our very first Getting Started Research video!