Miami subscribes to several databases that may be useful for you when trying to find scholarly information for your short papers. Some of them are listed below. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have trouble finding relevant information, or if you hit any other roadblocks in your research.
Guide created by Laura Cohen and Trudi Jacobson, State University of New York, Albany. It includes guidelines for specific types of sites or media, including social networking and multimedia sites.
Just because you find it doesn't mean that you have permission to use it!
Look for copyright ownership or conditions attached to use!
Evaluate information (books, articles, websites, etc.) using these criteria:
Authority: Prefer acknowledged authorities to self-proclaimed ones. What are the author's qualifications for publishing on this subject? Do other experts in the field acknowledge this person? Are there any reviews available of earlier works? Is the authority (writer) working within his/her field of expertise? Or is it someone who is addressing a subject outside his/her field?
Scope: Coverage, or scope, refers to the comprehensiveness of the information. Does the information provide wide coverage of the subject matter? Does the information identify a target audience?
Proximity: Is the account first-hand? In other words, did the individual responsible for the information actually witness the events described? Or is the account separated by time and/or space from the event?
Objectivity: Is the information presented with a minimum of bias? Or does the writer of the source have a motive for influencing the way you see the event? If you sense that the writer is trying to sway your opinion one way or the other, use caution. You may need to use opinion, but you need to know what is opinion and what is a basic fact.
Specificity: In general, accounts that are exact and complete are more reliable. Writers who are vague and evasive should be used with caution.
Currency: Is the information up to date? Some research topics require fresh information: e.g., technology, science and current events. For other topics, it will be acceptable to use dated material: historical, biographical or literature. In historical context, is the account contemporary with the event being described?
Accountability: Many websites don’t have accountability. How do you know you can trust them?
Believability: Is the evidence credible (believable) on its own terms? Or is the evidence internally inconsistent or demonstrably false to any known facts? The issue of objectivity may come into play here.
Relevance: Does the information or analysis support my thesis? How can I use the source to support the points I make in my project?
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