When you are doing research, think in terms of what subject area your topic lies to locate resources and begin your search for materials. In this case, we are looking for economic topics. To find article databases dealing with this subject, start at the Mardigian Library Homepage. Then locate the following tab:
Once you arrive at the databases page select the Economics subject heading from the list illustrated in the image below:
This will take you to the databases the library recommends using to find materials on economics topics.
These are some of the best databases to use for locating materials in Economics. These databases will allow you to locate peer-reviewed scholarly articles on your topics.
ProQuest Research Library - Academic and general articles about a broad range of subjects including arts, business, children, education, general interest, health, humanities, international, law, military, multicultural, psychology, sciences, social sciences, and women's interests. Covers 1971 to present.
EconLit - Journal articles and working papers on economics issues since 1969 can be found here.
JSTOR - Journal articles from core scholarly journals in the liberal arts and sciences. Coverage extends from the first issue of journals included to 3 - 5 years before the present.
Professors believe the following criteria are good things to keep in mind when evaluating resources to determine their level of quality:
1. The material should be from a credible or known or trusted publication like the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Quarterly Journal of Economics, or Public Policy and Administration if you are looking for scholarly material.
Here is a list of publications that you can search through that have a title that begins with or has the term Economics in it. Additionally, if you would like to search for journals in other topics you can go to the Find a Specific Journal List.
2. The material should be without bias. The material should not favor one position or the other but rather state facts and possibly multiple positions.
3. The material should be authored by professionals, experts, and credentialed individuals. Does the author work in the trade? Does the author teach in the discipline? Does the author hold a Ph.D.?
4. The material should be researched and verifiable. Does the material show evidence of research and include a bibliography of the author's research? If there is no depth of research can the material be checked for accuracy? Does the author point to anything that can be checked?
5. Is the material peer-reviewed? This type of material is the gold standard for information on a topic. This is:
A. Research or commentary submitted to a publication like American Economic Review
B. That is then sent to other experts in the discipline to review the material for
C. Accuracy and other criteria matching that publication and
D. When and if the material meets that publication's standards it will be published and then considered a credible resource because it went through such a strict process before publication.
6. The material should be current. Material considered to be current is less than five years old unless you are looking for things for an historical perspective.
7. The material needs to be readable. The language within the material cannot be too jargony.
Additionally, to help you evaluate resources, a simple and fun mnemonic called CRAAP¹ can be used here to help guide you through the steps of evaluating resources that you find in the research process. Before you can use any resources you need to determine several things first. You need to determine its Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose, which is referred to, again, as the CRAAP model for evaluating resources. Answering these specific questions will give you a clear indication of the scholarly value of the resource retrieved.
Quick Steps to Evaluating Resources
What is the date of the resource you found? Is the information up-to-date or older? Remember, you will often be working with a date range set by your professor. At minimum make sure the resources you find are within that range. Also, you may want the most recent material on a topic. If that is the case then make sure the resources are within the last 5 years.
What do the authors want you to know? Are you the targeted audience? What is the value of the resource in comparison to the range of information resources available on this topic?
Who is the author? What type of authority does this person have? Do they have credentials to be speaking on the topic? For instance, does the author have a degree in the area like a Ph.D. or are they a paid journalist writing about the topic? Asking this will specifically speak to how knowledgeable one will be on a topic.
Can the accuracy of the material be verified? Is there documentation for the information provided in the form of a bibliography? How complete is the material? Are there gaps? Was the material peer-reviewed? Is the content biased or skewed? Does the text follow basic rules of grammar, spelling, and literary composition?
Identify the type of resource it is. Is it for the purposes of:
· Personal Page
You are not going to use resources entertainment purposes for a research assignment.
Step II. Evaluate Your Answers
· Were you able to answer all of the questions?
· Do you still have unanswered questions such as bibliographic information or content issues?
The resources that receive more favorable responses from you are more than likely a useful resource. If you have any questions about the validity of a particular resource, please ask a librarian.
¹The CRAAP model was suggested to me by a colleague, Dr. Joy Beatty, and the CRAAP Test from the California State University, Chico was reworked to be applied exclusively to Internet materials for this guide.
These are some useful tips for successful searching within every single search tool on Earth:
1. Think positive.
2. Simplify terminology.
3. Understand the type of search you are conducting, i.e, is the search a keyword or subject search as this does matter.
4. Browse return list to pinpoint key terminology and then incorporate that into new searches.
5. Limit your search to peer-reviewed or to a particular content or document type.
6. Limit your search to a specific date range.
7. Try multiple search tools
8. Never give up.
9. When in doubt consult a librarian.