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UTEP Connect Library Quick-Start Guide

Find Background Information

Use background information sources to find out about the basics of a topic, like names, dates, and facts

Examples of background information sources:

  • encyclopedias
  • dictionaries
  • handbooks
  • wikipedia

The easiest way to find a source that gives background information is to search using these steps:

1.Search for your topic using the library's search (if it's a big topic, try searching for the largest, most general ideas for the best results)

2. Look for a "Research Starter" at the top of the results list-- if there is one for your topic, it will be an encyclopedia entry (note that not all topics will have a "Research Starter"-- if that happens to you, see the next tab, "Suggested specialty sources")

3. Click the title of the "Research Starter" to view its contents, and use the "Cite" tool on the right side of the screen to create a reference to use in your work.

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Find Articles

you might need a news article, a magazine article, or a scholarly article. Which one is right for you?

If you have no idea what's going on with your topic, you need current information that will help you find out about recent events and changes in issues.

Examples of articles with current information:

  • news articles
  • magazine articles
  • online articles

when you need to learn about expert-level focus on a topic, use scholarly and research articles to add depth to your work and understanding.

Characteristics of a scholarly/research article:

  • published in a scholarly journal
  • based on research and/or experiments
  • written by experts (people like your professors)
  • peer reviewed (double-checked by other experts for quality + validity before publication)
  • expert-level content; not for 'beginners' or for the faint of heart

general purpose databases

choose a subject-specific database

Step 1

Go to the UTEP Library's home page. Scroll down to the middle of the page, and find the box on the left side. Click the tab that says Articles & Databases.

click on the articles and databases tab

Step 2

Know the name of the database you're looking for?

Use the alphabetical list; click the letter that the database you're looking for begins with.

use the alphabetical list

On the next page, from the list of databases that begin with that letter, find the name of the database you're looking for, and click on it.

click the name of the database from the list

The next page is not the database yet; click on the name of the database one more time to access it.

click the name of the database one more time

Want to find a database to use that is related to a specific subject or discipline?

Use the dropdown menu to choose the subject you need a database for. Click search when you've chosen one.

use the dropdown menu

*NOTE* These lists contain databases that are potentially relevant to the subject. Make sure you read the description of the database to see what it contains.

read the description

When you find one that sounds promising, click on its name to access it.

click the name of the database to access

Step 3 (optional)

Ask a librarian for database recommendations for your particular research topic or interest. We're happy to help!

1. Search for your topic using the library's search (for best results, type the big ideas of your topic, connected by the word AND)

search climate change AND human health

2. If you are looking for current, up-to-date information on a topic, check the Publication Date filter for your search's results; change the earliest publication date to a more recent year to see results from that span of time only; this is a must for most topics, especially ones that change with new developments in policy, science, or medicine.

type a more recent publication date for more current results3. Choose which kind of article you want to see in your results using the "Filter by Source Type" option on the left side of the screen.

>>tips on choosing an article type to use:

>>news and magazine articles can help you get concise amounts of information as it is understood when it is published (if you want to know what's going on with a topic right now, create a small publication date range before choosing these article types)

>>scholarly or research articles have advanced-level information-- not for beginners or for the faint of heart; use scholarly articles to get focused, detailed information about an expert's experiments or research related to your topic

select the source type you want to see in your results. there are several article types in the "filter by source type" menu on the results list page.

4. To read an article, look for full-text links below the title in the result list.

5. Click the title of the article and use the "Cite" tool on the right side of the screen to create a reference to use in your work.

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