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Doctoral Support Network: Online Resource Access, Research Tools, and Strategies

Intended for MCCC employees who are themselves pursuing graduate studies.

Database Search and Delivery Options

Most academic research databases offer similar and familiar search options.  Use the "advanced search" link, whenever available, to take advantage of :

  • discipline or content specific search options.  E.g., population, methodology, genre, NAICS code, agency
  • results limiters such as source type, publication year, library availability

Most databases provide convenient options for handling and delivering your selections, allowing you to:

  • Save results to a folder, then print or export them all at once rather than one at a time.
  • Export to citation manager options (usually in Save or Export screens) and export the citations into your own citation manager.  Links to the full text and, in some cases, full text PDFs can be exported with the citation.
  • Download, email, or create persistent links to results.
  • Create an individual user account within the database to get alerts for new content added in your areas of interest.

Google Scholar and Google Books

Get the most out of Google Scholar and Google Books by setting your preferences. 

  • Click on the Setting gear icon in Google Scholar.  Under Bibliography Manager, choose "show links to import citations" and select your citation manager.  (For Zotero, choose EndNote.)  Click Save.
  • Click on the Setting gear icon in Google Scholar.  Choose the Library Links option from the left hand menu.  Search for your college.  Check off your library.  Click Save.
  • When looking at a result in Google Books, click on the Find in a Library (sometimes you have to click on Get This Book in Print, first) link and enter your zip code where it says Enter Your Location.

Book Reviews, Annual Reviews

Academic book reviews can save you time by giving you an overview of the book's content, pointing to other important works on the topic, and giving you a sense of the disciplinary community's response to recent scholarship.  Find them in a disciplinary database, journal platforms, or discovery systems by limiting the source type to reviews and limit results to scholarly or peer-reviewed. 

Likewise, annual reviews and literature review articles can give you a head start by giving you an overview of the major research and publications in your field in any given year.  These are a good entry point into further research, and lead you to the more significant works more quickly.  Try searching your field or discipline plus "annual review" or "review of the literature" in the discovery search.  You can also try searching for annual reviews or more granular topics.

Cited Reference Searching

Looking at the references cited in an academic publication is a useful way to contextualize the work, and to get leads to other useful items.  Another way of using the scholarly practice of citing sources is to look at how an academic publication is cited by others.  Cited reference searches used to only be possible using Web of Science.  Today, Google Scholar as well as a number of databases and publishers make it possible to do cited reference searching within the content they index.  Databases that allow for cited reference searching include Web of Science, Scopus, MLA Bibliography, PsycINFO, Google Scholar, Education Source, and more.

Cited reference searching allows you to:

  • See how many times an article has been cited since it was published, and by whom.
  • Trace the history and development of an idea.       
  • Discover other works related to the subject.
  • Identify the degree of impact or influence a publication has in a field.
  • Track your own research or that of colleagues.