G. Selecting Research Materials

1. Problem:

Often students do not know the differences between popular and scholarly materials. In addition, many are unaware of the peer review process for journal articles.

See Expected Learning Outcomes and Methods for help with this problem.

2. Expected Learning Outcomes:

After going through an exercise and/or links to information about various formats of materials, all students will select and utilize appropriate materials for their research papers, as defined in their assignments or syllabi.

3. Methods:

a. Exercise--in-class (5 min.): [Based on Bechtel, Joan M. 1986. "Conversation: a New Paradigm for Librarianship?" College & Research Libraries 47(3):219-224.]

  • Hold up an issue of a magazine or journal, or have students go to a web site for a magazine and a journal.
  • Instructor: "Which one is a journal?"
  • Wait for response
  • Instructor: What makes this a journal?"
  • Wait for responses; fill in whatever's missing from the following:
    • Audience
    • Frequency of publication
    • Content
    • Authority/expertise of authors
    • Bibliography/ References
  • Instructor: "This journal contains some of the academic conversations going on in this field."
  • Instructor: "What are these conversations?"
  • Instructor: "Scholars 'talk' and argue about their research silently in articles, book reviews, essays and books, and orally at conferences."
  • Instructor: "They present evidence to support their views and their conclusions."
  • Instructor: "Other scholars respond. They may agree or disagree, and they also submit evidence to support their views, as well as critiquing the evidence submitted by other scholars."
  • Instructor: "How do you find these academic conversations for your research papers?"

b. Exercise--in-class (15 min.)

  • Instead of holding up an issue of a magazine and a journal or going to web sites, distribute mixed piles of magazines and journals to groups of students.
  • Ask students to take 5 min. to separate them into magazines as opposed to journals.
  • Have groups report back on the differences between them and continue with the discussion about academic conversations and peer review above.

c. Exercise--in-class or out-of-class assignment (10 min.)

  • IN-CLASS: Give students 3 minutes to fill out paper copies of the "Which is Which?" 1-page exercise (attached below), and then discuss answers in class.
  • OUT-OF-CLASS ASSIGNMENT: Ask students to download the "Which is Which?" 1-page exercise (attached below), complete it, circle the portion(s) of each citation that made them decide on its publication type, and/or provide brief written explanations for identifying the publication type for each item.


4. Assessment:

"Road to Research: Starting Points":

Note: Links above are to archived copies of pages in the Internet Archive, as the "Road to Research" is temporarily unavailable as of 16 Sep 2015 due to revision work on the UCLA Social Sciences Computing Center's website.

 In addition, this tutorial has not been maintained by the UCLA Library since Summer 2011, and some portions may be out of date. It is used here as an example.