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PSC 412: Doing Research

Where to start: Finding background info

Whenever you are assigned a topic that you are unfamiliar with, or if you need to research the foundational, historical, and/or background information for a topic, country, theory, or person, then it's a good preliminary step to take a few minutes to research the background information using Credo Reference. This database will give you a better foundation of knowledge for your topic, and will also provide a list of relevant, scholarly sources. 



Once you've done your background research... are more familiar with your topic, and can more easily interpret the scholarly sources you'll find via Summon and our library databases. 

Read the tips below for things to keep in mind while using the library's resources on the following pages.

Things to remember (Part 1)

Make sure you're logged in

The resources on the next pages can be accessed on-campus or off-campus using your MUNet Username (typically your last name followed by a number or numbers) and MUNet password as verification. These resources are not freely available to just anyone-- they are specifically provided to you as Marshall University students. To access them, you can either click on the green database names below, or, you can view the entire library database list at

(Reminder: if you are signing in for the first time today, and/or are signing in off-campus, you will be asked to enter your MUNet Username and password.)

Things to remember (Part 2)

What are Peer-Reviewed Sources?

In some library databases, there is an option to narrow your search results to peer-reviewed only. These are scholarly articles that have undergone an extra level of authenticity by being approved regarding the content: Is the research up-do-date? Is it contributing something to the field? Is it presenting all sides? If not, is it at least acknowledging the lack? Are the structure and citations correctly formatted? 

Expert tip: look for any options to narrow down your search to scholarly or peer-reviewed only. Typically, this option is located on the left side, the right side of a search page, or at the top or bottom. Sometimes, you will need to look for and click on the Advanced Search option to find this. Sometimes, though, it is simply not available as an option. 

Things to remember (Part 3)

Understanding Full-text versus Index

Some databases are full-text, and some are labeled as an index. So, what's the difference?

"Full-text" means that the journals, eBooks, newspapers, magazines, interviews, maps, poems, etc. are instantly available for you to read and/or download instantly online.

In contrast, "Index" means there will be very few (if any) full-text articles because these databases act as a portal for discovering articles on a given topic, so it's just letting you know the citation information for things out there based on your search terms. Sometimes, there will be an "Access Full Text" or "Find Full Text" option, but not always. When this happens, simply ask a librarian for help in getting this item from another library via interlibrary loan.