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Critical Writing Program Fall 2021 - Ross: WRIT092301 THE UNEQUAL CITY: GENTRIFICATION?: Tips for Searching

This is a guide for students in WRIT092301 THE UNEQUAL CITY: GENTRIFICATION? taught by Dr. Ross in Fall 2021

Tips for Searching

Getting comfortable with searching in databases is a skill that you develop through practice, consideration, and working with your peers, instructors, and librarians.

The more experience you have, the more it becomes second nature. It is important to consider the quality and purpose of your sources as you identify articles, books, and other resources.

It isn't just whether the article or other work addresses your topic. Other factors should be taken into account:  What are the authors' credentials for writing on this topic, what is their evidence, how did they find or acquire that evidence, are their methods, data, and findings  supported by others from different institutions or organizations in the same or related fields. Even if appropriate and reliable, are the data and findings current or outdated? 

These are all good questions to discuss with your instructor or your librarian as you are doing your searching and finding your resources. Never base your conclusions on a single source of information. Even distinguished scholarly publications are occasionally compelled to retract or correct material. 

Familiarizing Yourself with a Topic

When familiarizing yourself with a new topic, consider starting with reference texts, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries. Every subject will have a set of discipline-specific texts that define terms and ideas in relation to that area of research. To get started, you can use Franklin to limit your search to these types of reference materials.

There is a subject heading used in the catalog: "Encyclopedias and Dictionaries," and then that heading can be pared with a particular topic. So, you could search a topic as a subject heading keyword or just as a key word: "encyclopedias and dictionaries" food (for instance). 

Here is an example to explore: 

Encyclopedia of urban studies

https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9959845393503681