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Communication 100

Find and evaluate scholarly research in the social sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make sure my APA citation is correct? How can I create an APA citation when it is not provided?

It will save time to become familiar with a proper APA article citation using the Purdue Owl citation guide. Key elements of an APA citation: use the authors’ initials instead of full names, capitalize only the first word of the article title (and proper nouns), and omit quotation marks around the article title. If you get the citation from a library database or from Google Scholar (see the “ icon under the article), you still need to double-check the format.

How can I get the full text PDF for Google Scholar articles without paying?

Never consider paying for the full text; Chat with a Librarian can assist. One good strategy is to bookmark this link to use the UIC settings for Google Scholar:

You'll see Get full text @ UIC links to connect to the library e-journals. (The link is sometimes hidden under the << sign.) If full text is not online, scroll down to Request via inter library loan. There is no charge for this service, and it’s surprisingly quick to receive the PDF from another library.

How can I extract the best information from the article efficiently?

Try these tutorials for learning to read scientific articles:

How can I identify a peer reviewed article? Can you explain what makes an article scholarly?

Peer reviewed articles are from journals that use a panel of experts to read and respond to manuscripts. The standards for a scholarly article are different for each scientific discipline and may vary by journal. In library databases, you can limit to peer reviewed articles. If you find an article in Google Scholar or the list of references of another article, look for the journal home page to learn whether it is peer reviewed, or ask a librarian. A specialized database called UlrichsWeb can tell you whether a journal is peer reviewed.

How can I find specific data (charts and graphs)?

If you need specific facts and figures to support your speech, ask a librarian. Frequently this kind of information is found in encyclopedias and other reference sources, rather than in journal articles.

Can I contact a librarian if I have a hard time finding scholarly articles? How do I use Chat with a Librarian?

You can count on us for help with research. Chat with a Librarian is available on every library page and inside many library databases. Please give us a minute or so to answer; we might be juggling several questions. During the business day, a librarian is available as well as highly trained graduate students. In the evenings and on weekends, the grad student may refer in-depth questions to a librarian who specialized in your topic to respond by email.

How can I find sources published in a specific time period, within the past six months or within the past 24 months?

Library databases and Google Scholar allow you to limit your search to a specific time period. If you’re having difficulty identifying newer articles, here’s a good trick: copy the title of an older article on your topic and copy it into Google Scholar. Then click “Cited by” – this will show newer articles that used your article in their reference lists and may be relevant to your topic. Don’t hesitate to Chat with a Librarian if you are still not finding current resources.