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Logan Library

Research Guide

Tips, tools, and services to help you find, evaluate, and use library resources in your research and class assignments.
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Information Literacy

Consuming and creating knowledge in our dynamic sphere of information requires more than the ability to read. Information Literacy addresses the need to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use a variety of information resources in our daily lives and in our academic studies. 

According to American Library Association:

Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. An information literate individual is able to:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally

The library is committed to teaching those research and critical thinking skills which will help students achieve the outcomes outlined in the ACRL's Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.  

Evaluating Scholarly Journals

Evaluating scholarly journals can be a complex process. It used to be that journals made money by selling subscriptions. These journals needed to consistently have a high level of accuracy to maintain their readership. These days; however, publishers may charge authors to publish their papers. This "open-access" business model allows anyone to read papers online for free, but there is a drawback. A journal that does not rely on subscription fees to publish, can publish trash as long as the author will pay for the presumed prestige of being published in a journal. There are some open access journals that are found on the web through Google Scholar that are known as predatory journals. These journals may bill themselves as "peer-reviewed" when in fact they are not. It is important that you evaluate the scholarly journals that you are using in your research. Here are some free tools to help you uncover the best, most credible journals for your research:

Beall's list: compiled by a librarian, this website contains an alphabetic list of links to questionable or potentially predatory publishers.

Journal Evaluation Tool: rubric developed by the William Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University to evaluate a journal

Journal Guide: Search, filter, sort, and compare journals from more than 46,000 titles (free) - Using journal citation data from the Web of Knowledge database, the EigenFactor is a algorithmic calculation. Users can drill down by category and subcategory to find journal titles in particular fields.

Google Metrics (free) - Using Google Scholar citation data, Google calculates an h-index for many journals and lists them in its Google Scholar Metrics section. Users can see the list of top journals in disciplines and subfields or search for a particular title.

Evaluate Sources Using the CRAAP Test 

The CRAAP Test from the Meriam Library, California State University, Chico, can be applied to evaluate news sources.

Types of Resources


Resource Type Description Suggested Uses

Book & EBook 


For hundreds of years, the book has been the preferred container for disseminating knowledge. Books and eBooks on every topic and for every reading level may be found in the library by using the library catalog or by browsing our EBook collection provided by EBSCO. Most books are located in the library's "Main Stacks" and are arranged by their LOC Call Number. 


In-depth research on a particular topic, reading for personal interest or enjoyment. Though books may be self-published, the ones you will find in Logan Library have been created by professional or academic publishers.



Journals are the leading source of what is known as Scholarly Publications. Journals typically are published by universities (academic journals) and professional organizations (trade journals) and most contain a collection of articles, studies, and other resources around a particular theme that have been created by scholars or experts and vetted for accuracy by either an editorial board or by fellow experts through a process known as peer review.


Use for scholarly research for a course assignment, to discover the current research within a particular field, to find a variety of research focused on a specific topic or discipline. Most journals in the library may be found in one of our over 100 Databases.



A collection of articles, stories, images, and other features published to inform or entertain. The content in a magazine is typically created by journalists and reviewed by an editor for publication.


To find general information and opinions on current events and popular topics. The library has magazines and other periodicals in the reading area by the Library Services Desk. 



A newspaper is a collection of articles written by journalists and other contributors concerning local, national or international events. Newspapers are typically published daily and are a great source of current information on a variety of topics. Newspaper reporting is held to investigative standards and most publications follow the SPJ Code of Ethics with published articles approved by an editor. Opinion pieces, feature columns, and advertisements are also usually included these periodicals.    


To find current information about events or local opinions on a popular topic. To read for enjoyment, locate local items or services, and practice your crossword skills. Local and national papers are available online through Newspaper Source, and are delivered in print daily to the reading area by the Library Services Desk.

Reference Work


A Reference Work refers to any number of resources that may provide short, factual pieces of information, usually in the form of entries. Reference works include; Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Indexes & Abstracts, Annotated Bibliographies and other works of compiled data such as Telephone Books.


These resources are a great place to start when researching an unfamiliar subject. If you enter a general search term in the EDS Search All Library Resources box, a top result will likely by the Research Starter which provides general encyclopedic information about the subject from several of our online reference works. You may also access online reference works through our Databases. Looking for print reference? Try the books located in the Grand Hall. 



The library has over 100 online databases each containing thousands of journal articles, conference proceedings, reference entries, indexes, abstracts, EBooks, media and bibliographic records. Most scholarly research is obtained through access to our databases and each database has searching tools built into the interface to assist you as you search and evaluate available resources. Most databases in the library are paid subscriptions for aggregated journals and other publications compiled and arranged by large online publishers but open access databases such as the Directory of Open Journals and Open Culture may also be found in our Databases.


Use the EDS Search All Library Resources tool to search multiple databases for a large number of online resources at once or search individual databases in our A-Z List for a curated collection of related resources or a specific type of content. Found a resource but not full-text access? Remember you may request articles for electronic delivery through our ILL Services.



The internet allows you to quickly browse and locate information sources using powerful search engines and linked data contained on websites and webpages. The ability to evaluate information on the web is extremely important as there is no organization or code of ethics governing the currency, relevancy, authority, accuracy or purpose of information presented on websites. This does not mean that websites cannot be trusted, it does mean that any time you are viewing information online you should pay particular attention to the process and purpose of the information being presented.


Most state and national government information, public data, news, and political information is available on websites. The internet is a great place to start your research, particularly with browser tools such as Google Scholar and websites such as WorldCat.



Information is not limited to print and any number of film, music and image resources may be appropriate sources of knowledge depending on your interest and subject of exploration. Films such as documentaries may present in-depth information on a topic in an entertaining format. Podcasts and interviews are important Primary Sources for recording first-hand experiences. And images such as those contained in Schreiner University's digital collections from the Portal to Texas History are often considered to be the most valuable resources in the historical record as photographs capture a moment in time. 


Media may be used for research or entertainment and most media such as music and films are created for the purpose of entertaining. The library has film online and available for checkout in the Grand Hall display cases. We also have a number of "free" media resources featured on our Copyright & Fair Use LibGuide.