Searching for Literature
Refer to the videos below by our Education librarian, Nancy O’Brien for important tips on leveraging the library’s online databases. Tip: Expand to full-screen.
Building Your Research Diary and Bibliography
There are many different ways to develop a systematic record of your reading and thinking. We are going to suggest one, involving two primary artifacts, a research diary and a bibliographical database. Of course, there are many ways to be systematic, you just need to establish a way!
This is an evolving, private knowledge record.
- Create a single Word or Excel file or Google Doc
- Date each day’s work, the latest date at the start of the doc so the entries appear in reverse chronological order
- Notes cut/pasted from readings: be careful to include page numbers so you can cite without having to go back to the readings
- An index of other topics with page numbers where you might want to go back to an idea you encountered in your readings
- Your own thoughts, but, very important (!) be careful to distinguish your own thoughts from notes to avoid accidental plagiarism. For instance, always put your thinking in square brackets, or a different colored text or column
- Copy/paste parts of updates, annotated bibliographies and literature reviews that you think would be helpful to come back to. Again, be very careful to distinguish text you have written from your notes and selections
- Use hashtags so you can find ideas you would like to locate again at some point, for instance #differentiatedinstruction. Create an index of hashtags at the beginning of the document. This of course will evolve and grow as your thinking develops
- Include citations in the text, inserted from your bibliography database
- Over the 16 courses of the doctoral program, this document may become very large. The advantage of having a single document is that you will able to search quickly for hashtags, authors, and other words.
Keep all the references that you read and to which you may wish to refer in a bibliographical database program (e.g. Mendeley, Endnote, RefWorks, Zotero).
- Make sure you include enough data in each reference to create a well-formed citation; confirm the citation details as soon as you import the attachment
- Include pdfs if you have them, links to source pages, or notes about where you can locate a book or other item if you need it again
- Highlight text and copy and paste relevant notes from your research diary into the notes field
- Put citation makers into your research diary file
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