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COMP 100: Computers: Their Impact and Use

Course guide for COMP 100

Systems Librarian, Library Liasion to Computer Science

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Christina Hennessey
she/her/hers
Contact:
CSUN
Library Room 465
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330-8328
818-677-7078
Subjects: Computer Science

Choose the Right Resources

When choosing resources for your assignment, consider:

  • Assignment requirements—what does the professor want you to cite?
  • Learn about your topic -- You may want to use a reference book like an encyclopedia (print or online) to start out with if you don't have a clear understanding of your topic yet.
  • Time—the more current the topic, the less will be found in scholarly journals or books, which take longer to get published. Recent events will be covered on the Internet, in newspapers and magazines, as well as in the media.
  • Depth of coverage and/or the topic—scholarly journals and books cover topics in more depth than magazines and newspapers. Some topics are not covered by the popular press, e.g., research that would not be of interest to the average consumer.
Topic questions to ask
Type of Information You Need Try These Resources
Does your topic cover current events? Newspapers, magazines, Internet
Do you need general information on a specific topic, written in a non-specialist style? Newspapers, magazines, Internet
Do you need in-depth information on a specific topic, written for the college student and above by authorities in the field? Scholarly journals
Do you need more detail and/or has the topic been written about for a while? Books
Do you need an overview, quick facts, statistics on a topic? Reference books, Internet

Evaluating Websites

Types of Sources

Primary Sources

Primary sources are original materials on which other research is based. It includes documents such as poems, diaries, court records, interviews, surveys, fieldwork, and some newspaper articles. It also includes research results generated by experiments, which are published as journal articles in some fields of study.

They are also sets of data, such as census statistics, which have been tabulated, but not interpreted.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources describe or analyze the primary sources.

Examples of secondary sources include: dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks, and books and articles that interpret or review research works.

Tertiary Sources

Examples of tertiary sources includes indexes and abstracts which serve to locate secondary and primary sources. An index will provide a citation which fully identifies the work: author, title of article, title of journal or book, publisher and date of publication, For a journal it will include the volume, issue and pagination. An abstract is a summary of the work being cited. Many indexes and abstract are available now online.

Examples of sources by topic
Subject area Primary source Secondary source Tertiary source
Art Original artwork Article critiquing the piece of art Art Index
History Original diary of a slave Contemporary book about the Underground Railroad America: History and Life
Computer science Original research published as a journal article Introductory textbook on programming Computer Database (Gale)
Sociology Indian Education Act of 1972 Journal article on Native American education ERIC (Proquest)
 

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