Category Archives: Research Techniques & Tools

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Important tips for researching with Google Scholar

Google Scholar Rule #1 of using Google Scholar to do research for your class assignments: never pay for an article.

Rule #2 of using Google Scholar to do research for your class assignments: never, ever pay for an article!

In many cases, links to full text scholarly articles (like the kind that Google Scholar finds) are through subscription sources. The library pays for subscriptions to many of these sources already so that you, as a WOU student, can access them for free. But Google Scholar doesn’t know you’re a WOU student,and so it will often ask you to pay for the full text of the article results it provides.

That is, unless you tell Google Scholar you are a WOU student! You do this by changing your “Library links” settings in Google Scholar. 

Once you change this setting, Google will recognize you as a WOU student – provided you are signed into your Google account when you search (e.g. by signing into the Portal or into your email). Want to see how to change these settings? Watch this short video.

If you’re signed in and have set your “Library links” to connect to WOU databases, Google Scholar will show you the “Find It @ WOU” link with your results. This link will give you access to the full text of the scholarly article if possible, or it will tell you how to request the article you want through the library. Either way, you don’t have to pay for it!

More tips for using Google Scholar:

  • Google Scholar doesn’t have everything. You will find the most results in science and technology and the least results in the humanities. If you are searching for a topic in the humanities, try searching in a database specific to your subject.
  • Find a good article on your topic? Google Scholar gives you a list of other articles that have cited the article you are looking at. So if you find a good article, this will help you find more just like it. Look for the “Cited by” link to use this feature.
  • Try to only use first initials when searching for author names. Many articles only include the first initial of the author.
  • Google Scholar casts a wide net when searching, which often means you initially get an overwhelming number of results and will need to make your search more specific. Using the “advanced search” feature is the easiest way to narrow your results. The advanced search form will pop up if you click on the arrow on the right end of the Google Scholar search box. From there, you can fill in more search information.
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Welcome to Primo

What is Primo?

Primo is the new library search tool used to find items in Hamersly Library and our partner Summit libraries, as well as some articles and other electronic resources.

Primo scopes allow you to define where your search is performed. You can select a scope in the drop-down menu right of the search box, or by selecting your desired scope under the search box on the main library home page.

More about Primo

What is included in each scope?

WOU: Books, e-books, audio-visual recordings, maps, scores, microforms, government documents, special collections, journals, magazines, and newspapers available on-site at Hamersly Library.

WOU and Summit: Everything in the WOU list above, plus the holdings of academic libraries in the Pacific Northwest.

WOU, Summit, and Articles, etc.: Everything in the WOU and Summit lists above, as well as some full-text articles. This scope finds search terms in the full-article content.

Primo is one part of your complete search

Primo does not include all the content from the research databases to which WOU subscribes. For discipline-specific searching, use Hamersly Library’s Recommended Databases By Subject.

To search beyond the holdings of Summit libraries, use Worldcat. You can request materials from libraries around the world through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Questions or Comments?

We’re happy to hear from you at our Primo feedback form.

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Need statistics to support your thesis?

logo for ProQuest Statistical Insight   ProQuest Statistical Insight provides data from agencies of the federal government, major international intergovernmental organizations, professional and trade organizations, commercial publishers, independent research organizations, state government agencies, and universities. It’s a single search across many authoritative sources.

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Lunch & Learn: Intro to Mendeley

Mendeley Logo Looking for better ways to manage your research? Join librarian Shirley Lincicum for a guided tour of Mendeley! It’s like iTunes meets Facebook for academic research.
Two sessions! Attend the one that is most convenient for you:
Wednesday, Oct. 24th 12:15 to 12:45 pm in HL 108
Thursday, Oct. 25th 11:45 to 12:15 pm in HL 107
Bring your laptop and your lunch, if you wish. Hope to see you there!

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Have a great article and want more? Use Google Scholar to discover articles that cite it.

You can use Google Scholar to find the scholarly papers that have referenced an article you like.

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Renew items, save a search, and more with My Library

Here’s what you can do with the My Library account through the library catalog:

  1. Review what you have currently checked out, including due dates.  This includes Summit and Interlibrary Loan items in your possession as well as Hamersly-owned items.
  2. Renew items of Hamersly-owned items (when renewal is allowable) and see the new due dates.
  3. Place holds on Hamersly-owned items.  Use the Request button and we’ll retrieve and hold the item for you at the Checkout Desk.
  4. Connect to Summit Requests to review the status of your requests.
  5. Connect to Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Requests to a) review the status of your requests, b) request a renewal from the lending library, and c) get a blank request form rather than requesting via a database.
  6. Go to My Reading History, the record of Hamersly-owned items that you checked out in the past. Please note that you must opt-in for the history to start accumulating; for privacy reasons we have the library system set to not retain checkout records once items are returned.  If you choose to opt-in, you can always delete individual items from your history.
  7. Rate library items (whether or not you’ve ever checked them out) in a five-star system, and review your ratings  The item’s catalog record will include your anonymous rating averaged with any other ratings it’s received by other library patrons.  The catalog’s rating system is not connected to any outside service.
  8. Set or modify your “ preferred searches.”  Preferred searches are really handy if you have a favorite author or subject, or if you’ve developed an advanced search you don’t want to remember and rekey several months later.  You can rerun the search manually, or the catalog can email you when the library adds new items that meet your search criteria.
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Learn to Document and Use Sources in your Writing

Danger: Improper Citations

Our Citation Guide helps you with
  • APA style
  • MLA style
  • Chicago/Turabian style
  • & links to the American Anthropological Association style guide


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Get those bibliographies in order!

noodletools NoodleBib is an online tool that helps you collect citation information, keep track of your sources, take online note attached to appropriate sources, and, when you are ready, generate a polished references list or bibliography in APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian styles. Keep a separate folder for each project. You must create an individual account (free) to access all features.
Need CSE citations instead? Try SourceAid Citation Builder, then download or email the formatted citations–no online storage of the lists.

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Health Education Databases

Are you taking a HPE class? Good places to look for research articles are in SPORTDiscus, Physical Education Index, and Education Full Text (including ERIC). Or here is a complete list of our Health Education databases, with descriptions of their specialty areas.

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Wondering what is meant by a primary source or a secondary source?

If a professor has ever referred to primary sources or required you to use secondary sources in your paper, perhaps you weren’t sure what that meant. This 6-min. tutorial will help you distinguish between them and use them appropriately in your research.

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