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Honors Thesis resources for CLA students: Important Library resources

A curated collection of helpful resources for students writing honors theses.

Library databases

Databases can help you find primary, secondary and tertiary sources. Most people use databases to find scholarly articles in their field, but there are also archival, film, newspaper and image databases that may be helpful for finding sources.

Some databases are subject-specific, meaning that they specialize in a subject area. An example of this is EconLit, which provides full text articles from key economic journals. Some databases are multidisciplinary, which means that it has materials from a wide-variety of topics, such as Academic Search Premier. 

When selecting a database, you want to consider:

  • In what field/subject area does the question I am trying to answer belong?
  • What kind of item am I looking for and does the database I select contain those types of materials? (scholarly article, book, media, news, archival, reference materials, dataset, patents...)
  • What date range does the database cover? (historical, current or both)

To browse the databases in your field of study, go to the Library's A-Z list, then select the All Subjects dropdown and choose your subject area.


Locating Journals

When conducting academic research for your assignments, it is often stressed that you need to use articles from a scholarly journal. Scholarly journals are also known as 'academic journals' or 'peer-reviewed journals'.

Characteristics of scholarly journals include:

  • Written for a specific field/discipline
  • Materials include lengthy research or technically oriented reports
  • Are written by researchers, experts, scholars of the field/discipline
  • Articles will include in-text citations and bibliography
  • Will be 'peer-reviewed' by other researchers, experts and scholars before publication

Drew Library offers several options for accessing and/or browsing journals, including

  • Browzine. You can search Browzine by title or ISSN and browse by subject areas. If you are on a mobile device, you may be prompted to download the free app through the App Store or Google Play.  If you create a free Browzine account, you can collect journals that you access regularly and them to a "bookshelf."
  • Another option is to use the "Journal Finder" link in the main ScholarSearch search box on the Library webpage. There you may explore Drew's journal holdings by entering the subject, title, or ISSN number in the main search box or by browsing by Journal Title or Discipline (aka subject). 

Reference materials

Reference Materials hold a wealth of information and are typically most useful for finding broad information on your topic. You may find a wide variety of information in reference materials such as historical backgrounds on a topic, governmental information, statistical information, definitions and more! Examples of reference materials include: encyclopedias, dictionaries, bibliographies, atlases, maps and even directories.

Some reference materials may be multidisciplinary, covering multiple topics, such as Gale eBooks while others may be subject-specific such as Birds of the World, which contains comprehensive life histories for all bird species and families including taxonomic information.

When selecting reference materials, ask yourself questions similar to those used when choosing a database, e.g what field/subject area does the question I am trying to answer belong?, etc.  

One way to browse reference materials is to go to the Library's A-Z list, then choose "Reference Sources" from the All Database Types drop-down.

To find reference materials in a specific subject area, in the A-Z list select your subject from the All Subjects drop-down, then select Reference Sources from All Database Types. This will apply a two-layered sort. Example: Biology (All Subjects) + Reference Sources (All Database Types)

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