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Tutor profile: Samantha L.

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Samantha L.
Academic librarian and research specialist for 6 years.
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

I need help citing sources in my paper. I'm very confused about how to do in-text citations and creating a Works Cited page using MLA format.

Inactive
Samantha L.
Answer:

There are several online resources that can give you examples of exactly how to create citations for a source, whether it's a book, article, or other format. One really helpful one is a website called Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL), where you can find their MLA Style and Formatting Guide. It will give you information on all the pieces of information you need to have, both in in-text citations and in a Works Cited page. Another helpful hint is to look for the citation generator in all the databases you use to find your sources. Usually, databases and other online resources will provide a citation for every article. This can be a huge time-saver while you're doing research. Just be sure to double-check that the citation follows the correct MLA formatting when you edit the rough draft of your paper. If you are still having trouble understanding how citations work, or just aren't sure how to find all the information that goes into a citation, I can help you out!

Subject: Library and Information Science

TutorMe
Question:

How do I find peer-reviewed articles for a paper I am writing about how older people's learning and cognitive development?

Inactive
Samantha L.
Answer:

Let's talk about exactly what you would like to say in your paper and what kind of information you have already found. Then, I can make some suggestions about which databases to search, and how to identify the most effective keywords and filters to find peer-reviewed articles on your topic.

Subject: Databases

TutorMe
Question:

I can't get any good results searching in my library's databases. I have searched things like "effects of social media on teen depression" but nothing is working. How do I find good sources about this topic?

Inactive
Samantha L.
Answer:

There are good sources out there, so let's figure out how to find them! Databases don't work the same way Google searching does, where you can type in a full phrase, like "effects of social media on teen depression." Google takes its best guess at the most important words in that phrase, and that's how it returns your search results. Databases, though, search for every single word you put in (including things like "of" and "on"), so it's good to select only the most important words or ideas. For this topic, you might use the keywords "social media," "teens OR adolescents" and "depression." Those kinds of keywords also tend to be more effective than relational words, like "effect" or "cause." It is also helpful to think of synonyms to your keywords, in case the first ones you try don't bring back the results you want. In the keyword examples above, we have "teens OR adolescents" because sources may use similar words to talk about the same idea. But, if we don't put all the words into the search, the database won't know to look for them. For more keyword ideas, look for the database's subjects/subject terms, which are like keyword tags or labels that tell us the main ideas of articles. Database searching is a process of trial and error, and the more you practice, the better you will get at honing in on the most helpful keyword combinations.

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