Skip to main content

Online Learning Resources: Library Tutorials

Video Tutorials

This tutorial helps you develop effective keywords for searching in library resources. 

This tutorial helps you understand citations to academic journal articles.

Evaluating Sources for Credibility in Google

Google is a great place to start any kind of research. It is easy to use, and it gives you up-to-the-minute information from many different sources.<br><br>But not all sources are equally credible, so how do you determine which sources to use?

A "credible source" is one that you can trust. &nbsp;You feel confident sharing the information it contains because the argument made in the source is supported by evidence and is minimally biased.

Let's say you are interested in researching mass incarceration. &nbsp;Let's do a simple Google search for that phrase. &nbsp;Type <b><i>mass incarceration</i></b>&nbsp;into the search bar.

We got a lot of results! &nbsp;Let's check one out. &nbsp;Click on&nbsp;<span class=""><i><b>How to End Mass Incarceration - Jacobin.</b></i></span>

There are a lot of ways to determine the credibility of the source. &nbsp;First, always check the date the source was published. &nbsp;Is it current? &nbsp;Or is it from several months or years ago?

Another way to evaluate the credibility of a source is to learn more about the author. &nbsp;What are their credentials to discuss the subject of the source?<br><br>Click on the author's name--<b><i>Roger Lancaster</i></b>--to view his biography.<b></b>

According to his bio, Roger Lancaster is a professor at George Mason University. &nbsp;Academic credentials are often--though not always--good indicators of the reliability or credibility of a source.

There are several key things to pay attention to when reading an article to evaluate its credibility. &nbsp;One is the overall argument the author is making, or the author's thesis statement. &nbsp;The thesis statement should be presented early in the piece.<br>

Note the tone the author takes in making that argument. &nbsp;Do they use words designed to provoke an emotional response, or do they use more neutral or balanced language?

Also pay attention to if and how the author uses evidence to support their argument. &nbsp;Do they cite other sources and bring in outside information, or do they expect you to take their word for it?

Bias is something to look for in evaluating a source's credibility. &nbsp;The author's tone and the sources they cite may give you an idea of their bias, but the publication in which the source is found can also speak to the source's bias.<br>

You can learn more about the publication by finding the&nbsp;<b><i>About</i></b><i></i> page.<br>

In this case, this publication tells us that it offers "socialist perspectives" in its articles.&nbsp;

If the "About" page does not give you information about the publication's biases or perspectives, you can do a Google search. &nbsp;Sites like Wikipedia will usually include this kind of information about a publication. Click on the <b><i>Wikipedia</i></b> link.<br>

The Wikipedia article gives you an idea of this publication's political perspective.<br><br>Most sources will have some political perspective; you need to be aware of that perspective, but it does not mean that you cannot use the source.

Another way to check a source's credibility is to read other sources on the same topic to see if the information and arguments are widely supported or accepted. &nbsp;<br><br>You can also read about this issue on the ACLU's website.

Or on the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative's website.

Or you can even get a background on the topic from Wikipedia (though don't let Wikipedia be your only source!).

There are many factors to weigh when evaluating the credibility of a source, such as the author's credentials; the argument, tone, and supporting evidence of the source; the publication's bias; and what other sources say.&nbsp;

There is no right or wrong answer; the same source can be used effectively in different ways by different people. &nbsp;Think about what kinds of evidence you need to support your argument, and how each source does (or does not) meet your needs.

Library One Search Tutorial

The first step is to open <span class=""><u></u><u></u>. We want to start our research by going to <b><i>One Search</i></b>, which will allow us to search for scholarly journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books.</span>

Type your search term into the&nbsp;<span class=""><i><b>search box</b></i></span> and press Enter. In this example, we are doing research on immigration, so type "immigration".

We got over 2 million results! That is too many to look through, so we want to narrow our search to get fewer results.

There are lots of different types of sources in One Search. If you want to limit your search to only peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles, click<span class=""><i><b>&nbsp;Peer-Review</b></i>.</span>

That eliminated over 1 million results!<br><br>You can also limit your search by publication date. Click&nbsp;<span class=""><i><b>Last 12 Months</b></i> to only see results published in the last year.</span>

To access the full text of an article, click&nbsp;<span class=""><i><b>Full Text Online</b></i>.<br><br>Not every result in One Search is available online; some will say "Citation Online" instead, which you can click to submit an Interlibrary Loan request for that item.</span>

Click&nbsp;<b><i></i></b>the<b><i>&nbsp;link icon</i></b>&nbsp;to get a stable link to the result.<br>

Click <span class=""><i><b> </b></i>the<i><b> quotation marks</b></i> to generate a citation you can copy and paste into your reference list or bibliography.</span>

Select <span class=""><i><b>your citation format</b></i><b></b> (in this example, MLA).</span>

And copy and paste!

You can email the result to yourself or others by clicking the&nbsp;<span class=""><i><b>envelope icon.</b></i></span>

If you need help, click the <span class=""><i><b>chat bubbles</b></i><b></b> in the upper right-hand corner to chat with a librarian.</span>

Chat is not available at all times. If the chat is not online, you can click the envelope to send an email to a librarian.

These are some of the basic features of One Search. There are many more filters you can use to limit your search, so explore on your own.<br><br>If you have questions, please contact us:&nbsp;<a href="" title="Link:"></a>

Full-Text Articles Tutorial

Let's say you need to find a&nbsp;<b>full-text</b>&nbsp; article for one of your classes on emotion regulation in children.&nbsp;<br><br>Begin at the UM Libraries' home page: <a href="" title="Link:"></a><br><br>

You can search for scholarly articles in One Search or in a subject database. <br><br>We're going to search a subject psychology database called PsycINFO. Click <b>"P"</b>.&nbsp;<br>

Click <span class="component"><i><b>PsycINFO </b></i></span>

To access UM library databases you need to login with your UM id and password.&nbsp;

Type&nbsp;<b>emotion regulation and child*</b> in the search box

You might want to use the second article in the list, but where is the&nbsp;<b>full text</b>&nbsp;<b>(entire)</b> article?<br><br>Click on the title of the article.&nbsp;

This page gives you more information, but still not the&nbsp;<b>full-text &nbsp;article.&nbsp;<br><br></b>To find out if the UM Libraries has the&nbsp;<b>full-text article</b>, you need to click on the <b>red</b>&nbsp;"<b>Find It!"</b> button.&nbsp;<b><br></b>

This screen will look different depending on if the library has the article, and how the article is being retrieved.&nbsp;<br><br>Often, you simply follow the prompt.&nbsp;<br>

A new tab opens to provide the&nbsp;<b>full-text article</b>, including a downloadable pdf version.&nbsp;<br><br>Click to download. That's it! You're done.&nbsp;<br><br>

Google Scholar Library Links

The first step is to open <span class=""><i><b>Google Scholar</b></i></span> and click&nbsp;<b><i></i></b><i></i>the three bars in the upper left corner to open the menu.

Click <span class="component"><i><b>Settings</b></i></span>

Click <span class="component"><i><b>Library links</b></i></span>

Type "University of Mississippi" in the&nbsp;<span class=""><i><b>Search bar</b></i></span>

Click <span class="component"><i><b>Find Library</b></i></span>

Click <span class=""><i><b>University of Mississippi - Full-Text @ U Mississippi</b></i></span>

Make sure you select both of the&nbsp;<span class=""><i><b>University of Mississippi - Full-Text @ U Mississippi&nbsp;</b></i><b></b>options!&nbsp; <br><br>(It is unclear why there are two, but select both just to be safe).</span>

Click <span class="component"><i><b>Save</b></i></span>

Let's test it out!&nbsp; Type "football concussions" in the&nbsp;<span class=""><i><b>Search box</b></i></span>

Now you can click <span class=""><i><b>Full-Text @ U Mississippi</b></i><b></b> and get a link to the full text of the item on the library's website.</span>