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PHRD 600 Library Research Guide : Getting Started

Evaulating Resources

When you find a book, journal article, or website, you’ll need to use a critical eye to make sure that it is appropriate for your paper before you decide to use it.

The following are questions you can ask yourself when determining whether to use a resource:

  • Is the resource relevant to my research topic? Does it answer my research question?
  • Does the resource cover my topic with depth and thoroughness (provides background information, historical dates, significant facts rather than personal opinions of events)
  • Does the resource come from a credible source; ie, if it is a journal article, has it been published in a professional journal; if it is a website, is it from a recognized institution (such as a university, government organization, historical association, or professional pharmacy association)?
  • Can you trust the author? (Check their credentials--do they appear to be a well-known historian, pharmacist, scholar, or expert in the field?)
  • Does the resource pull from reliable outside sources and cite them throughout? (Look for a bibliography.)
  • Does the resource have something original or interesting to say about the topic? (There might be many resources that say the same thing, so choose the one that is unique.)
  • In Conclusion: Is this the best resource available for my research topic?

Researching the History of Pharmacy

The following guide will show you the best resources to use when researching your History of Pharmacy topic.

 Pharmacy cabinet

Havana, Cuba. Photo by J. Nanavati, 2013

IMPORTANT: Not all of the journal articles and books that you find using these resources will be available at the Loyola/Notre Dame Library. In many cases, you will need to request them using Interlibrary Loan. Articles and other digital materials usually will be delivered to your account within 24 hours. Books and other physical items will take about a week to arrive; you will be notified via email when items are ready for pickup. Loan periods and renewals vary according to the lending libraries..

So, help yourself out by giving yourself enough time to research and request items before your paper is due.

Before you can request articles and books through Interlibrary Loan, you must create an account. You can do that here: Create an ILL Account

Starting your Research

Before begining your resarch project, answer the following questions:

  1. What is my research question?

  2. What types of information sources am I required to use? Books? Journal articles? Websites?

  3. How many sources will I need? 

  4. What resources will provide me with the best information possible? (list a few databases and other other resources that you will use to get started)

  5. What key terms will be helpful to use in these resources to produce effective search results?

  6. What citation style will I use (eg. APA, MLA, AJHP)?

  7. Will I need extra help writing my paper?--If yes, make sure to give yourself enough time to set up an appointment with the Writing Center

recommended websites

For historical documents, here are a couple of credible web resources that you might want to try:

  • American Memory Project Provides access to primary historic documents such as speeches, diary entries, photographs, and maps related to American History.
  • Manuscriptorium Contains manuscripts, incunabula, early printed books, maps, charters, and other types of documents focusing on European history.