How to Conduct Scholarly Research
To conduct scholarly research, students must pick the best sources of information. In most cases these are scholarly books and journals. In some cases, Internet Websites may be used, provided that the information is up-to-date and provided by a reliable source.
Identifying Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed Journals
Often your professors will want you to search only for articles in scholarly journals (also called "peer-reviewed"), and not in popular magazines or newspapers. Most--but not all--of the Research Port databases primarily search scholarly journals. If you are not sure whether or not a journal is "scholarly," the Identifying Periodical Types guide and the Periodical Comparison Chart may help you decide. Also see the diagram at the right:
Note: If you are using an EBSCO database (e.g., LGBT Life, Academic Search, Family and Society Studies, SocIndex, PsycInfo, etc.), you can insure that you have scholarly articles by checking the box that indicates "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed)." Because many topics in LGBT Studies deal with current and news topics, much research in this field will not be limited to so-called "scholarly" resources, but may also include magazines, newspapers and other newsmedia.
A quick way to find books and articles on a given topic is to use the WorldCat UMD search box via the "Get Started," "Find Books & Media," or "Find Articles" links on the University of Maryland Libraries' Home Page. When you use WorldCat UM, you should be aware that it searches libraries throughout the country--not just the University of Maryland Libraries-- so just because a book or article is listed in WorldCat UMD does not mean that we necessarily own that item or have online access to it. Also you should be aware that WorldCat UMD does not search for journal articles with equal effectiveness in all subject areas, nor does it search as completely as do many of the Databases (see following paragraph). For more information about how to search WorldCat UM, go to the WorldCat help screen.
For more controlled searching, the University of Maryland Libraries has two primary tools that provide entryways to scholarly research: the Catalog (called "Classic Catalog" on the Libraries' Home Page) and Research Port (access this by going to the Home Page and clicking on the "Find Databases" tab or on the "Research Port" link). The Catalog is where one looks to locate books (and also other materials, such as government documents, theses, videos, etc. ) that the University of Libraries own. The databases in Research Port are primarily where one searches for journal articles. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Unlike Research Port, WorldCat UMD does not search "LGBT Life," an important database for locating articles about LGBT topics. As a result, when conducting queer studies research, you will likely find Research Port to be much more helpful than WorldCatUMD.)