While conducting research or looking for some information, undergraduates can turn to various sources such as the Internet, databases, books, and so on. However, not all the sources should be considered trustworthy or relevant and can be used in academic research. To ensure that students have access to reliable data, Ashford University allows them to use Ashford Library throughout their time in this educational institution. The library offers a variety of academic resources available to all the undergraduates.
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It is necessary to be able to sort through the huge variety of different means to get acute information. At first, it seems that conducting scholarly research is a challenging task; however, if a student knows the difference between kinds of sources and is aware of effective search practices, obtaining the needed data would be easy. There are two types of resources that students frequently come across during their studies, which are scholarly and popular sources (Ashford University Library, n.d.). Their purpose of the two types of sources is different as well as their reliability. For instance, the scholarly sources (such as certain books, scholarly journals, scientific publications) include a bibliography, while the popular sources do not.
The scholarly, academic or peer-reviewed journals contain articles that are written by academics or other experts in professional fields. They present the original research or the experimentation part of it to the group of scholars in this field and inform how the topic covered in the article was analyzed. An article usually goes through the peer review process before it is published in scholarly journals (Ashford University Library, n.d.).
During the review, the experts in this field analyze the substance, scientific significance, and scholarly soundness of the article. The popular sources, in its turn, dwell on how a specific topic has influenced the local population. It should be noted that both types of resources could be used in academic research.
Before conducting the research in the Ashford University Library (in databases, [email protected] search tool), it is crucial to define the main topic of the research. Then the topic should be broken into the key concepts so that it is easier to find the relevant information in the system (Ashford University Library, n.d.). It is advisable to enter one keyword (put in quotation marks) per search box to ensure the most precise results.
The databases retrieve information based on the entered keywords, they do not guess or understand the meaning of the search; instead, they show direct matches to the words (Ashford University Library, n.d.). Also, it would be a good idea to search for all the keywords and concepts needed for the assignment to make sure that all the necessary information was obtained. By referring to these library guidelines, the undergraduates will be able to find the information that fits their research needs, and then proceed to work on their assignments.
To sum it up, the Ashford University Library provides for successful academic research of its undergraduates. To obtain the necessary information effectively and efficiently, the students should be aware of the best search practices that will guarantee accurate and factual results. The students should narrow down the area of research to several keywords and enter them into search boxes; thus, the system would offer reliable sources by subject. For many students time is the factor; consequently, the effective way of database searching rather than general searches on the web, will save time and ensure credible information.
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Ashford University Library. (n.d.). Quick ‘n’ dirty: Ashford university library. Web.