Secrets of My Research Success:
Background Reading

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Quentin calls the UMUC library and talks to Mike…

Quentin:

…and so I want to locate information on corporate takeovers and how it affects employees.

Mike:

A good place to begin is by doing some background reading on the topic to get a better overall understanding of it. Preliminary exploration of your topic will provide you with key ideas, terminology, and dates necessary to help you in the narrowing or broadening process.

Quentin:

Where can I go to do this?

Mike:

You may want to begin with print books or e-books because books can provide a comprehensive overview and point you in the direction of more focused subtopics. Click on the More E-Book Collections link.

Quentin:

Okay, I am there.

Mike:

E-books can be found in a variety of places, such as some library databases, the Internet using sites such as Google books or Project Gutenberg, and in UMUC’s E-Book Collections. UMUC offers access to a large collection of e-books through eBook Collection on EBSCOhost. Let’s start there.  Enter the phrase "corporate takeovers" and put the phrase inside quotation marks. Using quotation marks around a phrase of two or more words tells the database to search for that exact phrase—those two words together in that order. Then, change the drop down menu to the left to All Text Fields, which for eBook Collection on EBSCOhost means that the words can be found anywhere in the record for the book

Quentin:

Okay, I did as you said and got 98 results.

Mike:

This is what I found, too. You notice as you look through the titles that within the abstract for each one the words are highlighted to show you the most relevant pages with that phrase in the book. You can click on the E-Book full text link and find the table of contents. If you click on each link of the table of contents you can read each chapter online. Notice also that you can search within the book by entering terms under the Search Within link found under Tools on the right sidebar.

Quentin:

Do I have to look through all 98?

Mike:

No, you can try to focus this a little more by going back to the Advanced Search and enter the terms "corporate takeovers" as before and then add the word employees with AND between "corporate takeovers" and employees. By using AND you have signaled eBook Collection on EBSCOhost  that both terms have to be included.

Quentin:

Okay, I tried this and found 25 titles. In reading through some of the abstracts it looks like some of these may be useful. Let me look through these and see what I find out.

Mike:

Call back when you are ready and we can talk about about how to find articles using the library databases, which will provide more focused information. The library databases are accessible to you as a student here at UMUC for your use in completing academic assignments.

Quentin:

Thank you for all your help, Mike. I will be back in touch.

Quentin calls back.


Quentin:

…and so after doing some background reading I decided on my research question, "What is a corporate takeover and what are some of the possible effects on employees?"  I picked out the key concepts, which are"corporate takeovers," "effects" and "employees"… but I don't know what to do after that.

Mike:

Well, you're on the right track, Quentin. These key concepts, or keywords, can serve as possible search terms. However, different databases use different terms to search, so it is useful to create a search statement that includes other possible search words, such as synonyms, for these terms.