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Fast Track : Whaddya Know?

A student's guide to high-performance research

Check Your Knowledge!

1) You should never use Wikipedia.

In some cases, Wikipedia is a good place to get an overview of a topic, especially if it is new to you. In almost all cases, however, you should not use or reference Wikipedia in a research paper for one of your classes since your professors will expect you to use academic sources.

2) The Internet is the fastest way to find research information.

Here in the Libraries, we hear students say over and over that they have spent hours looking on the Internet for information on their research topics and have had no success. It is true that it can also be frustrating learning how to use the Libraries and library resources, but a little time spent learning these tools will pay off in the long run. Library resources and tools can focus on much more specific topics and are more specialized than common search engines, like Yahoo! or Google.

3) Everything from the library is available for free on the Internet.

While BGSU Libraries has many articles and an increasing number of books available online, from off campus you need to use your username and password to log in to use these resources. That's because the library pays for these subscriptions, just like you'd pay for newspaper delivery; the material is not freely found online. Plus, many items, especially the one-of-a-kind or rare materials in our special collections, are simply not available in an electronic version.

4) Online reviews of businesses, services, and products are always genuine and trustworthy.

While the majority of reviews may be written by people who have actually frequented businesses or purchased products, that's not always the case. There is a growing trend to pay people to write reviews, even if the reviewers haven't bought anything or been a customer of the business they're reviewing. Check out the article from the New York Times on the "Evaluate" tab for more information.

5) Evaluating websites is as important (if not more!) as evaluating books and articles, and some of the same tools can be used.

The CRAAP test and others like it are great tools for evaluating all sorts of sources, from books to websites and more. And since anyone with the desire and know-how can create a website, it's particularly important to evaluate them for currency, relevancy, authority, accuracy, and purpose. See the "Evaluate" tab for more information.

6) Summon searches for library books, peer-reviewed journal articles, and newspaper articles.

Summon searches about 80% of BGSU Libraries materials; you can limit your search results to show just books, or just articles, or just newspapers if you like. See the Summon tab to learn more about this great resource!

7) Google Scholar connects to the BGSU library resources.

To make sure that BGSU and OhioLINK materials show up in Google Scholar, access Google Scholar one of these ways:

  1. Use Google Scholar on campus.
  2. Connect to Google Scholar from the BGSU Libraries home page. You will be prompted to authenticate with your BGSU username and password (same as your email).

8) When citing a Web page in a list of works cited, you should always include the URL in the reference.

MLA, the style most frequently used in BGSU first-year courses, no longer requires URLs in citations. Both MLA and APA styles have different requirements regarding the exact information you should include in your citation, so be sure to consult your instructor or the appropriate style guide for more details.

9) The most efficient way to search the Internet is simply to type your question into the search box.

Pick 1-4 keywords that accurately describe what you're looking for. Typing in a whole question may actually muddy your search results.

10) I must come to the library to access the research databases and full-text electronic materials provided by the library.

The Libraries offer thousands of full-text electronic journal articles, electronic books, images, dictionaries, and much more. You can access most of these materials from anywhere in the world using your BGSU username and password (same as email). Check out the databases from the Libraries' home page.