“Drilling Down”: English 105 Independent Research Project Workshop
1) “Look back or forward in time from your source”: Find recent single-author books on the topic in the Library's online catalog, and investigate their authors’ previous article-length work using an AUTHOR search in the right search engine pointed at an appropriate academic database (e.g., Ebsco's search engine to search the MLA Bibliography, JSTOR's search engine to search the JSTOR "Political Science" database).
2) “Look back or forward in time and laterally in a community of scholars”: Find recent multiple-author essay collections on the topic in the Library's online catalog, and investigate individual chapter authors’ previous article-length work using an AUTHOR search in the right search engine pointed at an appropriate academic database. In either the library's online catalog or an academic article database, click on relevant SUBJECT categories listed in the citation.
3) “Look laterally at an individual publication’s sources”: Read the References or Works Cited section of articles you have found and look for titles of articles which seem like better sources. Search for them using a TITLE search in an appropriate academic database. Remember that exact-word searches easily can turn up no hits if even one character is wrong. If you get no hits, make absolutely sure you are typing the correct title, truncate the title to a key phrase and use a TITLE PHRASE or KEYWORD search, and/or change the database you are searching in, possibly using the library’s “Serial Journal List” to seek the journal first.
4) “Look forward to the source's reception after publication”: If your source is in JSTOR's databases, look for its "cited in" record on the upper right corner of the "Article Summary" view. These links cover citations in other journals JSTOR indexes and those in Google Scholar. For book-length works, read scholarly reviews using a SUBJECT (=title and again =author) search AND the KEYWORD “Review” on the next line in the search engine. Scholarly reviews contain original interpretive information that will help your paper. They also point out the issues currently being debated about the books’ topics, and if the books have weaknesses, they usually will suggest what could be done next time to create a better analysis of the evidence or to get better evidence to analyze. This will help you generate theses.
5) "Look in a database from a related discipline": Go back to JSTOR's or EbscoHost's "Select Databases" stage and look for one from another discipline/major that also would study your topic. Goucher's departments are organized into "Divisions" based on the inter-disciplinary links shared by groups of majors, and by the compatibility of their assumptions about data and reasoning.