The research tools you need to succeed are in the Library! Check out the resources below to get started. Not finding what you need? Chat online with a librarian or Peer Research Assistant (PRA) or stop by the Research Desk at any of our campus libraries.
Library databases connect you with articles, eBooks, streaming video, primary sources, reference materials, and more. Below are just some of the many databases you have access to as an MSJC student. If you are off campus, use your MSJC login to access.
Library Research Guides provide students with specific resources and information that assist in the research process. Each guide is built around a general subject or a specific class. Be sure to check out our event and exhibit guides as well, which celebrate and build awareness about significant people and events.
The MSJC Online Library Orientation will walk you through the essential elements of finding and using information for your research assignments. Topics are divided into six modules:
Each module includes a selection of short videos and tutorials focused on particular aspects of the topic. You may go through all of the modules in order to complete the entire orientation, or skip directly to the specific topics you want to learn more about.
Library Workshops are:
Check out brief research video tutorials on our YouTube channel!
Our Peer Research Assistants (PRAs) are fellow MSJC students who are ready to help you get started and build your skills in navigating your research assignments. Make an appointment with a PRA to get one-on-one research help from one of your peers!
Your instructor said that you cannot use the Internet to find sources for your paper. Instead, you have to use "scholarly articles" and other academic resources from the library. So what does that mean?
Scholarly articles appear in journals that are published by universities, societies, or associations of specialized fields. Articles are written by scholars in that field who present the results of original research and experimentation or provide technical or professional information. They usually go through a peer-review evaluation process before being published, which means they are reviewed by other scholars in the same field who provide feedback about the article's quality, accuracy, relevance to scholarship in the field, validity of research methodology and procedures, and more. Popular articles, on the other hand, are published in magazines and newspapers and are often written by journalists or staff writers. They are meant for general interest or entertainment.
So, how can you tell the difference between scholarly and popular sources? The information below should help you decide if a source you choose is scholarly or popular.
Ready to start searching for scholarly journal articles? Try our EBSCO and JSTOR databases. Connect to those through the Databases section above.
Have you ever wondered how library books are assigned their places on the shelves? Each item is given a unique code, called a call number, that is printed on the spine label of the book. A call number is like an address: it tells us where the book is located in the library. Knowing a little bit about call numbers will help you find the items you need in the library.
Like many academic libraries, the MSJC Libraries use Library of Congress Classification for call numbers. This system uses a combination of letters and numbers to arrange materials by broad subjects, specific subtopics, and authors or titles. When you search for a book in the library catalog, you'll see that each one has a call number. Jot the number down and you can match it to the spine label of that specific book on the shelf. Because books are arranged by subject, you can often find other books nearby that will fit your research. This does not mean that all books on a topic will be in the same section, though! For example, if you search the online catalog for books on "social media addiction," they could be located under social media or personality disorders, which are shelved in different areas of the library. Check out the image below which shows three different call numbers for books found with a search for "social media addiction."
Let's break down finding a book on the shelf using the first example above. In the catalog the call number is displayed left to right as HM742 .M657 2020. On the spine label it will be laid out top to bottom:
To find the book on the shelf, go down the label, reading each line as you go.
This covers the basics of understanding a call number. Be sure to ask at any of the service desks for assistance if you have trouble finding what you need!
Interested in learning more about how the Library of Congress system arranges materials by subjects? Check out the Library of Congress Classification Outline to find the letters for your subject area. This will give you a place to start browsing the shelves.