Thank you for completing the videos and questions on this guide.
On this page, I answer the questions that students in all the WRI 1100 sections I am working with this quarter have submitted. Where there was overlap or duplication, I consolidated.
Please reach out to me when you need support throughout the quarter.
1. If I don't have access to the ebook, do I email you for access?
2. Do I need to read the entire e-book I found in order to make use of the select chapters chapters within it usable? How much do I need to read in order to get the whole picture?
--> It really depends on the book. Some books are collections of essays where each one stands on its own, written by separate authors. Other books have distinct chapters that cover a specific sub-topic (for example, a time period). Then there are books where the material seems to blend more between the chapters. For these, read the introduction of the book to get a sense of the arc of the book. This can help you get the whole picture and put the parts that you do use into a broader context. Use the index too to see where in the book passages on your topic reside.
3. What if the ebook I need is not unlimited access and is already in use by someone else?
--> Check back often to see if it has become available. Contact me to help you find alternatives or another digital copy at the public library or the Internet Archive. If it is a book we also have in print, and you need just a chapter, you can request a scan of that chapter.
4. Are most of the books in the library available as ebooks?
--> The physical collection of the SPU Library is about 200,000 items. We also have access to over 200,000 ebooks. There is some overlap, but we try not to duplicate. If there is a section/chapter/essay in an SPU print-only book that you need, fill out the Search Request Form to get a scan made for you. If you are having trouble finding online sources, please contact me or another librarian
5. Will the ebooks always have the full text?
--> Yes! The ebooks provided by the SPU Library will always have the full text.
6. What if I need a book that's not held by SPU, would the library try and find a loan from other school or something just as some of the articles?
--> Yes, you can request a print book through our consortium, Summit, or through Inter Library Loan if the book is not in the Summit system. These will be available through our contactless pick up service.
If you are not able to come to campus, then we can try to get you a scan of a book chapter from another library.
Since most of the libraries are experiencing a disruption in service, there could be significant delays. Try reaching out to the librarian for the discipline of the books you need; they might be able to purchase access for you or find another sufficient source.
7. Is there a limit on how many ebooks you can have?
--> Nope! For more information, see the Library's guide on using ebooks.
8. Is it better to press the tags that describe the ebooks to find similar ebooks, or is it more efficient to search for things in the search bar? Or when would I use one method or another?
--> It is mostly a matter of personal preference. Try both types of searching and see which works best for you. One strategy is to limit to the ebooks first so that you know you will find something online full text that you can access right away. Then look at print books to see if there are chapters that you would like scanned. Fill out the Search Request Form to get a scan made for you.
9. Can we rent ebooks instead of buying a textbook?
--> You may be able to find texts for your classes as ebooks from the library. Search for the titles in the SPU Library catalog on the main library page. Contact me or another librarian if you want assistance or a double check.
10. For ebooks with limited access, is there only one or a few people allowed to access it at a time and is there a time limit when using those books?
--> Each book will differ. Usually it is limited to 1 or 3 simultaneous users if it is not unlimited. Also the checkout times vary from 1-21 days.
11. For this quarter do we only have access to materials that are online (ebooks, journals, etc) or is there a way we could get physical books from the library?
--> The library is open, but you need to request print materials for the library staff to retrieve for you and put aside for you to pick up. If you are not able to come to campus, we can scan portions of books for you using the Search Request Form.
12. Is there a way to gain access to a full e-book through other resources for free if SPU does not have access to it?
--> You can check the Internet Archive. You need to make a free account and "borrow" the book for 14 days; you can check it out again right away if no one else needs it. After you get your results, limit to "texts" if you are looking for an ebook. You can also check Google Books; sometimes the whole book is there; sometimes just the chapter/section you need is there. There is also an online collection called Hathi Trust that has ebooks for free. Finally, check your local public library.
13. Are there topics that have a limited amount of ebooks?
--> All disciplines are represented in the ebook universe these days although there might be fewer in the humanities than in the sciences.
14. What is the difference between ebooks and audiobooks? Will audiobooks work the same way?
--> Ebooks are like printed books, but are available in full text online to read. Audiobooks are printed books being read so that the user is listening to the text. The SPU Library catalog does not contain audiobooks. Most public libraries have audiobook collections.
15. Is there a particulary efficient way to navigate the ebooks to ensure I find the source that is most helpful to my research paper? Considering such a large quantity of results appear, is there a more efficient way to determine which is best than simply clicking on each to scan it's table of contents?
--> To narrow your results, try adding another keyword when searching. You can also look in the right side of your results for "topics" that can help you narrow down the list. Once you find something relevant, see if there is a specific "subject" that has been assigned to the book. Click on that subject to do a new search focused in on that particular topic.
16. Do ebooks take up a lot of storage if downloaded?
--> Downloading entire books will take up more space than downloading chapters. You will also need some space if the publisher requires you to use a product like Adobe Digital Editions. See the SPU Library ebooks guide for more information.
17. Are the page numbers the same as the physical copies we have ?
--> If you are using a PDF version, then yes, the pages should correlate to the pages in the print version.
18. Why are there limits for certain ebooks on how many people can view it at a time, since it is online wouldn't there be no need for a limit?
--> The limits are set by the publishers and distributors and are priced by the number of users. So a book with a one person limit may be substantially less expensive than one with unlimited users. The SPU Library works to be good stewards of their funds while trying to provide as much access as possible. Sometimes an unlimited version of an ebook is prohibitively expensive.
19. Can I still download a book if it is limited? Does it matter how many times we download an ebook or a chapter from the ebook?
--> There are two types of limits with ebooks. One is how many users can have the book "checked out" at the same time and the other is how much of the book you can download. These two types of limits act independently of each other and will be different for each book and publisher/distributor. Some books will show limits on how much you can download, but usually these reset each day. See the SPU Library ebooks guide for the specifics on downloading content.
20. Are the ebooks already cited? Or is that something we have to do?
--> When you are on the main page for the ebook before you click on "Read Online" or "Download," there will be a link to get a citation. This will help you get all the pieces you need in the right order. However, when using any citation generator, check over your result! Sometimes there are errors such as an author's name in all caps. Fix these errors before handing in your paper!
1. If you don't choose a specific database, will the results just be more broad and hard to narrow down to a good article?
--> Subject specific databases concentrate on journals only in a specific discipline. With a multidisciplinary database like Academic Search Complete, all disciplines are covered sufficiently, but with a subject specific database like Humanities Abstracts, you get access to even more specialized journals in the humanities that are not found in Academic Search Complete. In other words, adding subject specific databases increases the number of relevant articles you are likely to find.
2. What strategies might someone use to gain access to a full text on my own? How far can a librarian go to help me?
--> I'm glad you asked! We have a new online guide to finding full text! Give it a try and contact me or another librarian if you have questions or still cannot find that full text. A librarian can help you understand and navigate the strategies for finding full text as well as troubleshoot when the systems seem to be acting unexpectedly. Sometimes the problem is behind the scenes; other times there could be an issue with the article information. A librarian can investigate these issues and find solutions.
3. Would I be able to access other schools' databases? If so, how? I feel like because different schools have better access to demographics more known in the area.
--> Most schools sign agreements with the publishers of the databases saying that they will only allow access to current faculty, staff, and students of that school. It is worth it to browse the database list of another school's library to see if there is are resources that you can use without limitation. That said, you can usually physically go to another school and use their databases on site. However, with the current public health crisis, that is not always an option. If you are not finding the kinds of materials that you were hoping to, please contact me or another librarian.
4. Does it get easier to find articles in the databases?
--> Like many things, finding articles in the databases becomes easier with practice. If you are getting overwhelmed or frustrated, please do contact me or another librarian for assistance. We have many hours of practice and are eager to share tips and strategies.
5. How do I know which data base to use if researching a broad topic? What is the most useful database? Are some data bases better in different topics?
--> I recommend that you start with a multidisciplinary database like Academic Search Complete. This database covers all subjects. If you want to expand your searching with other databases, I would suggest clicking on the "choose databases" link above the search boxes, and selecting all the other databases. When you get your results, you can see on the left at the bottom which databases are bringing back articles on your topic. I often use this method when helping students in the fashion classes since we don't have a database just for fashion articles and there are many related fields such as communication and psychology. If you need help choosing a database, contact me or another librarian.
6. Are there specific things we should be looking for in an abstract that shows the article specifically for scholarly writing, or will most of the articles be suitable for that tone of writing?
--> The databases contain scholarly articles as well as items from newspapers and magazines. There will be icons in your search results which will indicate the type of publication the article is coming from. The abstracts will help you see what kind of an article it is. For example, a scientific article might have an abstract that indicates what a researcher's hypothesis was, what experiment they did, and what the results were. A scholarly article about a work of literature might have words like "analyze" and "critical interpretation" plus names of theories and scholars that are mentioned. In contrast, a magazine article about a scientific discovery will have language that is much more descriptive and accessible to a wider audience. A book review will be much shorter and less analytical than a scholarly treatment of a book.
7. Can you search for more than one topic at a time?
--> If you have related topics, then yes, you can search for them together by putting the keywords for those in separate boxes. For example, "vitamin c" in the first box and "common cold" in the second box to find articles about the effect of vitamin c on the common cold. If you have two different topics completely, it's best to search for them separately.
8. Does google scholar have a permalink or citation feature too?
--> You can get a link for your search results in google scholar, but since it is only a search tool, you will need to get links and citation information for the article from the article page.
9. Will some articles not have the full text? If the full text isn't provided is there a way to get it if needed?
--> If you do not see the full text in HTML or as a PDF, then click on the "Check for full text" link. This will check our entire system for the full text. If it is still not available, try copying the article title and pasting it into regular Google. If it is still not available, go back to the database and click on "Request through Inter Library Loan." Then we will get a scan of the article for you from another library. In some cases, we cannot get a scan for you. If your ILL request is denied, contact me or another librarian.
10. Is there a way to see if what we are viewing is a scholarly article from the SPU library page?
--> When you get your results in the database, on the left there is a limit for scholarly/peer reviewed. When you check this box, the articles that are from scholarly/peer reviewed journals will be pulled out for you. If you want to be absolutely sure that a journal is peer reviewed, visit the journal's home page and look around for a statement saying it is peer reviewed. This could be right on the home page or under the "About" section or in the "Instructions for Authors" section. When in doubt, contact me or another librarian.
11. Is there a way to tell if the article you click on will give you a full-text article or a loan?
--> In your results, under the title, there will be an indication if the full text is available. It will say PDF, Linked text, or HTML. If these are not there, then click on "check for full text." This will take you into the library catalog and say whether the full text is available in the rest of our system or not. If not, that's when you go back to the database and click on the "Request through inter library loan" link.
12. Can we get/request access to any article?
--> You can get access immediately to most of the articles you will need. Request everything else. We will do our utmost to fulfill your requests. There is always a chance that we are unable to, but we really try hard to fulfill all requests. If a request is denied, contact me or another librarian for assistance finding something else that is relevant.
13. Is everything in the database OK to use in a research paper?
--> In general you can be confident that everything in the database comes from a credible journal, magazine, or newspaper. However, you must make sure you are following your professor's expectations for the types of required sources. For example, if they want you to engage with peer-reviewed sources only, then a magazine or newspaper will not satisfy that expectation.
Also, not everything in a peer-reviewed journal has been through the peer-review process. For example, a letter to the editor or a commentary.
Additionally, you must consider what type of source provides the best kind of evidence/support for your arguments and ideas. For example, if you are working on a proposal for a play adaptation, you may want to see reviews from older productions of the play to learn about what types of adaptations have been successful in the past. These reviews would most likely be in newspapers and magazines and not necessarily peer reviewed journals.
14. How old do these articles go back? In my research project I'm likely going to have to find a wide range of articles that vary in age so was curious how far back these go?
--> It depends on the the publication. Some will go back further than others. If you are in the databases, you can search for a particular publication by typing in the title and changing the search type to "Source." Then click on the title of the publication to get the date range. You can also look up a publication title in the SPU Library catalog. When we have online access, you will see which databases have it and how far back it goes.
Another option is to do your search and then on the left of your results screen, limit to the time period you want the articles to be from. For example, if I want sources about the early days of film from the time period of the early days of film, I can search for "motion pictures" and then on the results screen limit the time period to say, 1900-1920. Of course, there will be articles written about the early days of film from any other time period, but sometimes you want to hear from the primary sources.
15. Is there a particular amount of time that an article is available for?
--> No. The articles have no limits for access. Every now and then a publisher decides to pull their content out of the database and then an article you had found before could disappear. It is best to download the articles you need if you are able to.
16. What is the difference if I use Google Scholar?
--> Since the searching in Google Scholar feels more familiar, some people prefer it. If you choose Google Scholar from the SPU databases page, you will be connected to SPU's full text when available. However, there will be a lot of content that you might not find since Google Scholar cannot get into the databases to access content that is not available on the internet. It's best to use the library databases and also Google Scholar. There will be some overlap, but also some unique content.
17. Is there a way to vet the articles before? I want to tighten my search field.
--> Try choosing the scholarly/peer reviewed limit before you search instead of from you results screen after you search.
18. What if the text is cut off?
--> If you think there is text missing, contact me or another librarian so we can troubleshoot. Sometimes it seems like there should be more, but when you look at the page numbers for the article, it says something like 1/5 or 0. Then you know that the article is actually that short.
1. Why do we use MLA citations as opposed to other versions of citations?
-->Organizations or publishers for the disciplines have developed their own citation styles based on what they value and find most useful in referencing. MLA is the standard citation style for the humanities, having been created by the Modern Languages Association (founded 1883) as a society for teachers of English literature, writing, and languages. Some other common styles and their disciplines are: Psychology & Education (APA Style - American Psychological Association), Nutrition (AMA - American Medical Association), History (Chicago Style - created by University of Chicago Press), Biology (CSE - Council of Science Editors). See the SPU Library's Citation Styles Guide for a list and examples of the commonly used styles at SPU.
2. If I don't totally understand my articles, should I replace the articles or should I ask for help until I do? If I misinterpret an article on accident, does that misappropriation count as a form of plagiarism?
--> Yes! Please do seek assistance with your reading. The SPU Research, Reading, & Writing Studio can help. Make an appointment to learn about and work through strategies with a Studio staff member. Contact me or another librarian to find materials on the same topic that might be more accessible which can help you build your knowledge for facing a complicated reading.
And yes, unintentional plagiarism is still plagiarism so be sure to reach out to your professor if you are struggling with course material or articles that you have found.
3. How can we tell if we are plagiarizing?
--> First, make sure you are citing everything that is not your own idea. Second, when you paraphrase, compare your writing with the original. Would someone think they were written by the same person or does your own voice come through? Third, check to see if your professor is using a tool such as Turnitin to assess for plagiarism. Finally, ask me or another librarian for assistance. You can also ask at the SPU Research, Reading, & Writing Studio.
4. How much is too much outside information?
--> You want to make sure that your ideas and arguments are well supported by your research, but you also want to make sure that your own thoughts and voice are coming through. Your professor will provide guidelines on how many sources to incorporate, but you will probably look at more sources than are required. Many students fall into a pattern of writing an "all about" paper where they are so excited about all the information that they found that they want to put everything into their paper. Be choosy and strategic. Have someone read your paper and give feedback by making an appointment with the SPU Research, Reading, & Writing Studio.
5. How do we know when the best time to quote, summarize to paraphrase would be?
--> The core of your paper is your own voice and argument. Use your sources to support what you want to get across to your reader. Use quotes sparingly; in some types of writing (e.g. scientific writing), quotes are hardly ever used. Reserve quoting for times when the original is something well-known like a famous quote or is said so perfectly that you feel it must be preserved intact. Most of the time you will be summarizing and paraphrasing. Summarizing has more to do with what an entire work was about whereas paraphrasing usually brings in one idea from your source to interact with your ideas and those of your other sources.
6. How do I cite my work at the end of a sentence, do I put the website or article name in parentheses?
--> One way is to put the author's name and the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence. If there is no author, then you use the first few words of the title. Another way is to mention the author in your text and just put the page number at the end. For a further explanation and examples, see The Purdue OWL MLA In-Text Citations Basics page. You can also get help with incorporating citations into your writing from the SPU Research, Reading, & Writing Studio.
7. If information is released by a government entity and I want to sight it, should I be able to find authors or is the name of said entity sufficient for the author section of the citation?
--> Some government documents do have human authors listed so do look around on the document/webpage for names. If there are no personal authors,then yes, the entity is the author and goes in the author position in the citation. For example:
New York State, Committee on State Prisons. Investigation of the New York State Prisons. 1883. Arno Press, 1974.
8. I have heard that our school has a writing center, but I have no idea how to access it and I am now out of campus :(. Is there an online feature I can use for my papers?
--> Yes! You can access writing help online through chat, voice, text, email, and Zoom. See the Research, Reading, & Writing Studio guide.
9. Is an in-text citation necessary in a paraphrase?
--> Absolutely! Any time you are incorporating someone else's ideas even if you have paraphrased them, you must cite.This helps your reader distinguish between your voice and the voices you are interacting with. It also gives credit where credit is due!
10. Why do we need to change the grammar of what were paraphrasing?
--> Changing the grammar is a way to really break free of the original language so that you are explaining meaning instead of just parroting. The act of changing the grammar will help you in figuring out what the meaning is because you will be paying very close attention to what the original text is saying.
11. Is there a certain limit to quoting texts?
--> There are no official rules for how much to quote and the different disciplines vary on this topic. It also depends on the type of paper you are writing. Generally, however, quotes should be used sparingly and intentionally. You can check with your professor about what their preference is and the staff at the SPU Research, Reading, & Writing Studio. can help you figure out how to meet those expectations.
12. Isn't a paraphrase supposed to be the same length as the original text?
--> Not necessarily. Usually a paraphrase contains the same ideas or meaning as the original, but is in your own words. It could take you fewer or more words to describe the idea clearly. If your professor asks for a "literal paraphrase," then they could expect something the same length as the original, but the most common type of paraphrasing pulls just the ideas or meaning from the original that you need for your paper.
13. If a news company doesn't write the author's name in the article, do you cite the company as the author or no?
--> If the author is not provided, start with the title of the article. For example,
"Talks on Bosnia Bog Down Over Borders." Toronto Star, 18 Aug. 2012, p. B6.
14. Are there any other elements of good academic writing that would be strategic to integrate in with a paraphrase?
--> Clarity and flow are the most important aspects to a good paraphrase. Don't get fancy or complex. Make sure that you are transitioning between your paraphrase and your surrounding writing smoothly. Here is an example from an essay I wrote about Generation Z where I want to share Dimrock's information about the Pew Research Center, but I want it to fit into the rest of my paragraph:
Social scientists, psychologists, journalists, and research/marketing executives struggle and compete to identify and label the generational cohorts.. Although speculation and attempts at naming a new generational cohort have been around for a few years, it was not until March 2018 that the Pew Research Center declared that the last year of the Millennials for the purposes of their work would be 1997 (Dimock, 25). Referring to the new group (born in 1998 and after) as simply “post-Millennials,” Pew prefers to wait and see what name evolves as the “winner” from society itself.
15. How do you avoid citing and paraphrasing the author wrong? For example, misinterpreting what they meant to say in their original words?
--> Read and re-read your sources. Take notes and compare your impressions when you re-read with your notes. Are all your thoughts matching up or are you re-interpreting what you are reading? Ask yourself questions about what you are reading to check your understanding. Find a related reading that responds or reviews the original. Are your thoughts in line with these other writers? Reach out to me, another librarian or the SPU Research, Reading, & Writing Studio.
16. If i mention the the author/professor in the sentence before, do i still have to cite them in the next sentence?
--> You need to be as clear as possible. The MLA Handbook, 8th edition has a couple pages on how to handle this situation which is also on this online guide.
Additionally, this example is from the MLA Style Blog:
Hilma af Klint’s art explores “the invisible relationships that shape our world” (Müller-Westermann 7). This focus is not surprising, given that af Klint began painting at the end of the nineteenth century, when electromagnetic waves and X-rays were discovered (7).
17. If I was to only use a single chapter of an ebook, how to I communicate this in my citations?
--> First you provide the information about the chapter: Author. "Chapter Title." Book Title,
then edited by editor's name, publisher, year, pp.
Boys, Mary C. “Learning in the Presence of the Other: Feminisms and the Interreligious Encounter.” Faith and Feminism:
Ecumenical Essays, edited by Diane B. Lipsett, Westminster John Knox Press, 2014, pp. 103-114.