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RC458 JUDAISM: FAITH, HISTORY, CULTURE: Home

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Phase 1: Initial Research & Thinking About Possible Topics

Task 1: Peruse the library collection and generate a bibliography of at least 7 general resources on Judaism. Include only books, periodical titles (not specific articles, but series titles), and reference works, such as encyclopedias or dictionaries (e.g., Encyclopaedia Judaica).

Strategy

When first initiating your research, it is best to consult sources that provide a broad overview or coverage of the topic. This allows the researcher to develop a basic understanding of important persons, places, and events related to the topic. The researcher is also introduced for the first time to the unique vocabulary of the topic, and potential keywords and search terms for future inquiry should be identified and noted. Books, journals, and  reference sources like encyclopedias and dictionaries specific to the subject area are great resources to utilize during the initial phase of your research. 

Tools & Resources

You can search for print and online books, journals, and reference sources using the Regis Library online catalog, Lumen:

Lumen search tips:

  • Keep it simple. It's better to generate too many results than too few at the start.
  • Try searching using synonymous or related terms. Be flexible in your choice of search terms. For example: Jews OR Jewish OR Judaism
  • To search exclusively for online materials, use the Material Type drop down menu on the advanced search page to select EBOOK or ONLINE JOURNAL.

Phase 2: Select One Topic & Learn About It Now

Task 1: In a separate list, just under your list of 7+ general resources, add at least 5 resources on your topic of choice that have been published in the last 10 years; also, under each of your 5+ resources, write a brief narrative (1-3 sentences) describing why this resource made your short-list. You may now venture into the online databases to which the library subscribes. Tip: It would also be wise to include the author’s thesis, if s/he has one. This list will grow as your portfolio progresses.

Strategy

The researcher has now gained general knowledge of the topic and is ready to make the transition from general to specialized knowledge. At this stage the research topic is often revised and the scope made more narrow. The researcher can utilize the publication details, subject vocabulary, and cited references used in the general sources identified in Phase 1 to search for materials addressing more narrow and specialized research topics in the library databases. The quality of sources referenced and used by the researcher becomes increasingly important. Reference to and use of academic (a.k.a. peer-reviewd or scholarly) journals is preferred.   

Tools & Resources

Search multiple recommended databases for Jewish Studies. Using multiple databases ensures that you will be exposed to the widest possible set of materials. 

  • Keep your searches simple. More results is better at the start.
  • Try a building block search strategy. Break the research topic down in to conceptual blocks. Use one or two keywords for each block.
  • Look for search limits related to date of publication, source type, and subject that can be applied from the search results page. Use these limits to drill down and gain precision. 

Use the locate A Journal/DOI/Citation search tool to search for known individual articles.

  • Use lists of cited references found in individual academic works as a discovery tool (e.g. citation pearl growing strategy) A "pearl" that starts with just one or two recent academic journal articles can be grown very quickly using this strategy. 

 

Phase 3: Blog Post 1 & 2 — Contributing Your Knowledge

Requirements: In addition to written sources on your topic, also find two multimedia elements (images, videos, etc.) that relate to your topic or illustrate some aspect of it. Cite all sources properly.

Strategy

Many libraries provide access to online image, film, and music databases. As with other materials types, using library databases helps ensure responsible use of copyrighted materials and helps confirm the accuracy and authority of the source. Look for citation and sharing tools in the library's media databases to help incorporate the material in to your work.

We also recommend that you search other libraries, institutional archives, museums, and research centers for multimedia. Use the site: limit in your Google searches to limit the search to the .edu and .org domains. The former encompasses most university and college web sites, while the later includes many museums, research centers, non-profits, and other cultural institutions. See this example and note the addition of the limit in the search box.  As with all resources on the Web, you will need to apply a critical evaluation to the sources you review and select.  

A few resource examples for both strategies are listed below: 

Tools & Resources

Phase 4: For Future Reference

Task 3: Look back at your list of topics from phase one of this project. Here, write a new list of topics for further research. This might be the same as the one you wrote in week-1 but it will likely be different in some respect.

· The Final Task! Now, pick one of the topics from your revised (or new!) list. Cite at least 5 resources on your new topic of choice that have been published in the last 10 years; also, under each of your 5+ resources, write a blurb (1-3 sentences) describing why this resource made your short-list. Then, in 2-3 analytical paragraphs, describe a learning-plan of your own design

APA Style

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View the full version of the Regis Library's Jewish studies research guide for a complete list of resources and services.