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Research Notes - Sample

Resources for choosing your topic

Credo Reference Center
Search through online reference books.
Oxford Reference Online
Another place to search through online reference books.
Ebook Central (was eBrary)
Search through our largest eBook collection.

Multidisciplinary Databases

MMA Collection
Search through all of our databases simultaneously.
Academic Search Premier
An EBSCO database.
For scholarly journal articles.
Lexis Nexis
For newspapers, business and law.

Literary Criticism & Biography Databases

Biography in Context
Has more than 528,000 biographies — spanning history and geography.
Literary Resource Center
Full-text articles from scholarly journals and literary magazines are combined with critical essays, work and topic overviews, full-text works, biographies, and more to provide a wealth of information on authors, their works, and literary movements.

Topic Overviews and Arguments

CQ Researcher
Current issue overviews, historical backgrounds, chronologies and pro/con lists.
Opposing Views in Context
Current issues with pro/con viewpoint essays and topic overviews.
Issues & Controversies in American History
Combines authoritative factual accounts with in-depth explanations of opposing points of view.

All Subject Databases (Click here)

Business Source Premier
The go-to business database.
Environment Complete
Environment articles from both domestic and international journals.
Videos Films On Demand
Homeland Security Digital Library
The Homeland Security Digital Library is composed of homeland security related documents collected from a wide variety of sources. These include federal, state, tribal, and local government agencies, professional organizations, think tanks, academic institutions, and international governing bodies. Resources are carefully selected and evaluated by a team of librarians and subject-matter specialists.

Resources On the Web

  Searchable Sea Literature
This searchable database is devoted to works by North American authors, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays. ‘Literature of the sea’ or ‘maritime literature’ is here loosely defined as works in which oceans, large rivers, or expansive lakes are critical to the story.

Free Document Delivery

If you need a book or journal article we do not have in print or online, fill out the form:
    For a book  click here 
    For a journal article  click here 
We'll get your research materials from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery. There is no charge to MMA affiliates for this service.

Get Research Help

Ask a Librarian Susan Berteaux, 508.830.5035
Contact the Main Library Help Desk Call: 508-830-5308
Open a ticket: online

Evaluating Resource Credibility

Who is the author? Credible sources are written by authors respected in their fields of study. Responsible, credible authors will cite their sources so that you can check the accuracy of and support for what they've written. (This is also a good way to find more sources for your own research.)
How recent is the source? The choice to seek recent sources depends on your topic. While sources on the American Civil War may be decades old and still contain accurate information, sources on information technologies, or other areas that are experiencing rapid changes, need to be much more current.
What is the author's purpose? When deciding which sources to use, you should take the purpose or point of view of the author into consideration. Is the author presenting a neutral, objective view of a topic? Or is the author advocating one specific view of a topic? Who is funding the research or writing of this source? A source written from a particular point of view may be credible; however, you need to be careful that your sources don't limit your coverage of a topic to one side of a debate.
What type of sources does your audience value? If you are writing for a professional or academic audience, they may value peer-reviewed journals as the most credible sources of information. If you are writing for a group of residents in your hometown, they might be more comfortable with mainstream sources, such as Time or Newsweek. A younger audience may be more accepting of information found on the Internet than an older audience might be.
Be especially careful when evaluating Internet sources! Never use Web sites where an author cannot be determined, unless the site is associated with a reputable institution such as a respected university, a credible media outlet, government program or department, or well-known non-governmental organizations. Beware of using sites like Wikipedia, which are collaboratively developed by users. Because anyone can add or change content, the validity of information on such sites may not meet the standards for academic research.