Conditions of Use
This book goes into great detail and includes modern research concepts such as using Wikipedia for background information and how to search Google. read more
This book goes into great detail and includes modern research concepts such as using Wikipedia for background information and how to search Google.
I found no issues with accuracy.
The length was just right-not exhaustive, but inclusive of all topics needed to understand how to conduct modern-day research.
It also includes a helpful Glossary.
It is consistent in the terminology it uses.
It is organized in good-sized chunks.
The fluid nature of research makes organizing it a little difficult. This is no fault of the authors; it is just a difficult subject to unravel linearly.
The e-book version flowed very well. Indid not take a look at the PDF version.
I found no grammatical errors.
I found no examples that were offensive or insensitive.
I found it very helpful and look forward to using it in the near future, myself.
Library 160: Introduction to College-Level Research is written for students attending a particular course at Iowa State University. It has a full table of contents and is easy to navigate. Sections are short and include clearly labeled... read more
Library 160: Introduction to College-Level Research is written for students attending a particular course at Iowa State University. It has a full table of contents and is easy to navigate. Sections are short and include clearly labeled subsections. While there is no index, the linked table of contents handily provides user-friendly navigation.
Generally, the text is accurate and unbiased. However, Web Search Engines are incorrectly identified as not having filters for advanced search or narrowing a search (Table 2.1, pg. 28). In the case of Google, there is a capacity for advanced search, searches can be narrowed by time, and images can be narrowed by type of image, usage rights, etc. This is something the authors acknowledge further in the text (Section 4.6, pg. 129).
The content is up-to-date and relevant to today’s readers. The text does link to tutorials and other resources from other universities. Given that those links are out of the hands of the authors and ISU, broken links may go unnoticed. Additionally, there are several figures that look like they are from the ISU Library catalog. While those helpfully illustrate the text, they may become dated as web pages change. That said, given their placement in the text, updates should be easy to make.
The text is clear and terms are defined for those new to the concepts. Each chapter includes learning outcomes that are achieved by the end of the chapter. Terms (like 'popular information' and 'peer review') are well-defined with examples. However, the use of bolding for terminology is not consistent throughout the book. Some terms (like 'thesis' and 'finding tools') are bolded and explained but others (like 'item records' and 'DOI') are just explained, not bolded. It also would be helpful to have bolded terms and concepts in a central list in the book for easy reference. In Section 1.4 (pg. 8), it’s not clear by Books whether the authors are referring to scholarly books or all books. Section 3.3 covering nesting and Boolean operators was complex compared to the rest of the text. It was helpful when the text differentiated between the ISU Quick Search function and a search engine. For instance, when discussing Boolean operators, the text identifies how to do a search similar to Quick Search in Google using a – instead of NOT.
The text is consistently written and cohesive.
The text is logically divided, and individual sections can be assigned independently. Sections are generally small and concise, easy to take in and understand. Page numbers did not consistently appear in the downloaded PDF.
The flow of the text is logical. The sequence of the sections, particularly illustrating the steps in beginning the research process, are clear and aligned with the student experience. The sections on Keywords are particularly organized and well-defined.
Navigation throughout the text is easy and logical. A few things I noted that could be improved: Figure 1.1 on page 10 in the section defining journal articles/issues/volumes is mid-quality and not ultimately necessary for the text since it is well explained in the preceding section. It may become dated since the journal clearly shows publication dates.
I didn’t observe any grammatical errors.
While the examples used throughout the text assume some knowledge about the United States, they are inclusive and cover a wide range of topics. Since the book is clearly written specifically for ISU students, reliance on U.S. concepts is less of an issue. The sub-section on outdated and offensive subject headings (pg. 80) was a helpful addition to the text.
This text is written for students early in their college careers. It would be useful for any student undertaking academic research for the first time. The text adds helpful sections that go beyond basic research skills, such as the Did You Know section (pg. 30) about free accounts. There are interactive checks for understanding that are relevant to the subject matter being reviewed. They include the opportunity to retry if answered incorrectly and give immediate feedback to the student. In the PDF, the checks are labeled “An Interactive H5P element” which may cause a student who is unfamiliar with H5P to avoid clicking.
The Introduction to College-Level Research provides a straightforward and thorough review of the research process. The five chapters cover the primary elements students should be considering as they become proficient in locating, evaluating, and... read more
The Introduction to College-Level Research provides a straightforward and thorough review of the research process. The five chapters cover the primary elements students should be considering as they become proficient in locating, evaluating, and using information. Being a student centered textbook, I can understand why there isn't any mention of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy or a specific section that discusses why this book was created, but these are elements that would be helpful for instructors using this textbook outside of the institution. Additionally, as this appears to be for a specific course, including a glossary of terms would be helpful as a reference. While definitions are provided throughout each chapter, they can get lost in the text.
The content appears to be accurate, error-free and unbiased. Any included references were relevant and functioned properly. I appreciated that, in the section concerning Wikipedia, the authors did address the issue that the majority of editors are male and there are inherent biases and exclusions in those articles.
Given that these chapters cover topics with a general approach, it is unlikely that this content will be obsolete in the near future. However, some of the images from the institution's interface may become outdated.
The authors clearly define concepts and terms, and provide excellent examples throughout. Some of these examples, however, may edge into the overwhelming for novice researchers. A particular example is the graphic provided in the Boolean Operators section, 3.2. The very detailed search example (that includes AND, OR, and NOT with nesting) is simultaneously effective and a lot to take in. I very much appreciated their approach of including "strengths" and "weaknesses" at the end of certain section; this summarized information very concisely and helps demonstrate that there isn't one source or tool that is perfect.
Despite being written and compiled by the Library Instruction Services unit, this book manages to have a consistent voice and approach to how each chapter and subsequent section is presented.
Keeping to 5 chapters with quick subsections makes this book easy to use and read, either as a professor assigning work or a student using it as a resource. The sections are, for the most part, very reasonable in length, and the ones that verge on being too long are appropriately divided. I did not find the text to be disruptive.
The book is thoughtfully organized with a clear and simple structure. The order of the chapters is logical and follows a typical research process.
No issues noted with the interface. The occasional “check your understanding” quizzes were very effective and added to the overall experience of using the textbook online.
I did not note any grammatical errors during my review of the text.
The text did not appear to be culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. Generally, all their examples and screenshots were very generic and represented authors from different backgrounds and fields of study. However, there is certainly opportunity to provide more inclusive examples or to discuss critical information literacy and social justice.
Overall, a good resource for an introductory college research course. It is simple in its approach, which makes the material approachable for novice researchers. For instructors not at the home institution wanting to use this book, certain sections may be confusing for students given the very specific screenshots, but this is expected given it’s attachment to the 160 course offered at Iowa State University. It would be useful to have more details about the course itself and the institution, as well as the makeup of the Instruction Services team that authored this source.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Getting started with research
Chapter 2: Locating information
Chapter 3: Search techniques
Chapter 4: Evaluating information
Chapter 5: Using information ethically
About the Book
You will learn how scholarly information is produced, organized, and accessed; how to construct and use effective search strategies in a variety of web tools and scholarly databases; how to choose finding tools appropriate to the type of information you need; critical thinking skills in the evaluation of resources; and best practices in the ethical use of information.
About the Contributors
Iowa State University Library Instruction Services, Iowa State University