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PHIL 202 (Adam Bowen)

Provides database suggestions and search tips for your animal ethics project.

Welcome

white mouse held by a gloved handWelcome!

This guide is for students in Adam Bowen's PHIL 202 class. 

Your animal ethics project requires you to find credible sources outside of your course readings to bring in and contribute to your research.

This guide is meant to provide you with suggestions for how you might approach doing that research.

To use your time wisely and most efficiently, use library databases as you do research.  You can more comfortably rely on the authority and reliability of items you find through library databases.  Plus -- don't worry -- you can do everything online!

While you can totally do this by starting on the Libraries' homepage and visiting the Databases page, I'm adding direct links to the databases here to streamline things a bit.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS as you're using these library resources:

  • If you need quick, immediate help: Use the Chat or Call options on the Ask a Librarian page.
  • If you have a little time or a more intricate question: Email me (Susan Taylor at setaylor@bsu.edu), describing your topic and what you're having trouble with.  I'll write you back as soon as I can.
  • Don't be shy or embarrassed about needing assistance. Just reach out!

Searching Strategically with the CHOP, DROP, and OR method

To search like a pro, use the CHOP, DROP, and OR technique.  This works in most every library database.

CHOP your topic into the different concepts involved.

  • Sample topic: ethical topics surrounding biomedical research on animals
  • Concepts: ethics, biomedical, research, animals

DROP each concept into a separate search box on an Advanced Search screen.  (I'll have to add extra search boxes to do this search.)

Then think of whether there are different spellings, synonyms, or related words for each concept and type them in (if there are), using OR between them.  Here are the synonyms/related terms I thought of:

  • biomedical OR biomedicine OR medical
  • research OR experiments OR experimentation

Here's how those terms might be put into an Advanced Search form in OneSearch.

Advanced Search form with four boxes filled with search terms, demonstrating CHOP, DROP, and OR technique

All of the documents that show up in the results list from this search will include:

  • the word "animal" and
  • the word "ethics" and
  • at least one of the words in the biomedical box and
  • at least one of the words in the research box. 

This allows you to cast your net wide so your results include writings from authors who use slightly different ways to describe your topic.

Then, of course, you want to evaluate what you find.

  • When you see a good title, that seems on-target topic-wise, read through and note if it uses different terms you could incorporate into your search.
  • You may find research that leads you in a new direction with your research.  Follow it!
  • Remember that library research like this can take time.  Be patient and be willing to scroll down through your list.

Recommended databases

Because OneSearch is multi-disciplinary, covering the sciences, social sciences, humanities, etc., searching in OneSearch allows you to search for sources touching on your topic from a wide variety of perspectives.  This can be great -- and sometimes overwhelming.  Also note that OneSearch allows you to search for both scholarly and more popular treatment of your topic.

Because Philosopher's Index has a much narrower focus than OneSearch, it is significantly smaller.  But you can trust that everything you find from searching in it has some relation to philosophy or ethics, and the vast majority of the articles are scholarly in nature.  And it can be nicer to have a smaller pool of records to go through.

Since Academic Search Premier is multi-disciplinary, covering the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, it can be useful when looking for a philosophical stance taken from outside the realm of philosophers.

Searching in OneSearch

Tips for searching in OneSearch:

  • Use the Advanced Search option in OneSearch when you're searching by topic.
  • On the Advanced Search page, use the CHOP, DROP, and OR technique.
    • ​For example, if you're researching the ethics related to zoos, your search could look like this:

Advanced Search form in OneSearch with this in one box: zoos OR "zoological parks" and this in another box: ethics OR morals

  • Under "Refine Your Search" on the left, consider limiting to:
    • Full Text Online, and
    • Scholarly & Peer-Review
  • If your results seem to be off-topic, look under "Discipline":
    • Choose an area to focus on.
    • You may need to click on the "More..." link and then choose "Apply" at the top.

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  • Clicking on the "Preview" link under titles of interest will allow you to learn more about the title.
  • If you find other terms you'd like to add into your search, click the "Advanced" link to the right of the search box at the top.

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  • Then you can work your new terms in, either as a new concept (in a new box), as a related term (using OR), or as both, as shown here:

Advanced Search in OneSearch, adding "animal welfare" in one box and this in another box: education OR teaching

  • Clicking on the title of an article you're interested in should bring up the full-text of the article.   Sometimes an interim page comes up where you need to click on a link under "View Online."

Searching in Philosopher's Index

Tips for searching in Philosopher's Index:

  • The Philosopher's Index is significantly smaller than OneSearch.  You may need to describe your search in broader terms.
  • Because everything has a philosophical focus, you don't need to include "ethics" or "philosophy" in your search terms.
  • You can use the same CHOP, DROP, and OR technique mentioned above if your research topic has some complexity.
  • Source Types in Philosopher's Index, with Academic Journals checked offUse the limits under "Source Type" on the left to focus your results on academic journals.  (Book reviews will not be helpful for you.)
  • If an article you want does not have a PDF or HTML full-text link, click on MultiLink BSU to see if you can get to the article another way.  (More information about MultiLink.)

To explore the topic of pets, in general, I could search on pets and its synonym "companion animals," as shown here:

Philosopher's Index search box with this: pets OR "companion animals"

This record might interest me, and give me the idea of narrowing my search to discussion of the value of pets:

Philosopher's Index record, with the subject term "value" highlighted

My search, then, could look like this, so that the results are focusing on any terms with "value" in them:

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Once you've chosen an article based on its record in the database you're searching, bring up the full text by either clicking on the PDF or HTML full text link, or by clicking on "MultiLink BSU" (More information about MultiLink.)

Searching in Academic Search Premier

Tips for searching in Academic Search Premier:

  • This database is smaller than OneSearch, but still includes a broad range of disciplines, including the sciences, humanities, and social sciences.
  • The search interface is the same as that of Philosopher's index.
  • To find discussion with a philosophical perspective, you need to include "ethics" or "philosophy" in your search terms.
  • You can use the same CHOP, DROP, and OR technique mentioned above if your research topic has some complexity.
  • undefinedUse the limits under "Source Type" on the left to focus your results on academic journals and/or magazine articles.  (Book reviews will not be helpful for you.)
  • If an article you want does not have a PDF or HTML full-text link, click on MultiLink BSU to see if you can get to the article another way.  (More information about MultiLink.)

Here's a sample search:

For the topic of the ethics of having exotic animals as pets:

Academic Search Premier search with "philosophy or ethics or morals" in one box, "exotic animals" in the 2nd box, and "pets" in the 3rdbox.

Leads me to this record, where I see the phrases "wild animal trade" and "wild animals as pets" in the subject field.

Academic Search Premier record with "wild animal trade" and "wild animals as pets" in the subject field highlighted.

This gives me the idea of searching using those two phrases.  I'll use the quotations marks around each to keep the words together.  And put OR in between them, so I find articles with either phrase.

Academic Search Premier search with "wild animal" terms in search box

Once you've chosen an article based on its record in the database you're searching, bring up the full text by either clicking on the PDF or HTML full text link, or by clicking on "MultiLink BSU" (More information about MultiLink.)

MultiLink BSU: Helping you find the full text of the title you want

When you're using a database, and can't find a link to the full text of an article, look for a MultiLink BSU button.

MultiLink helps you to search the Libraries' other databases to see if the full text is available through another resource.  If it is available, MultiLink provides a link to the text of the article; and if it cannot find the full-text, MultiLink provides a link to Interlibrary Loan so that you can request that we get a copy of the article from another library.

To use MultiLink, click on the blue MultiLink BSU button.  A new OneSearch tab will open.  Look at the message just under the citation at the top of the record.  You may see one or more of these links:

  1. "Available Online."= We have the full article, readable online! Click there and then follow the link provided.
  2. "Available at __ Library."= We have print issues of the journal your article is in!  They're located in the library indicated.  Click there and look at the volumes/years listed to ensure we have the year you need.
  3. "Check for available services." = We don't have the full-text of that article.  Click there, and then choose "Request the item with Interlibrary Loan/ILLiad" to ask for a copy.

If you see "Available Online"  that means you can read the whole article electronically.

Here's what to do next:

  • Click on the "Available Online" link.
  • It will take you down to the "View Online" section of the record. 
  • There you'll see one or more links under "Full text availability."   
  • Click on a link and it should take you right to your article in a new tab.
  • If you don't see your article in the resulting tab, you may be on the more general web page for the journal your article is in.  Simply find the search box and do a search for the title of your article.  It should come right up.

 

If you see "Available at __ Library"  that means we have print issues of the journal your article is in.

Here's what to do next:

  • Click on the "Available at __ Library" link.
  • It will take you down to the "Get it: LOCATION" section of the record. 
  • There you'll see which library it's in (ex. Bracken), followed by a list of the years/volumes we own.
  • The Bound Periodicals at Bracken Librarian are located on 2 West, shelved alphabetically by the title of the journal.

If you see "Check for available options"  that means we don't have the article, but if you're affiliated with Ball State, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Here's what to do next:

  • Click on the "Check for available options" link.
  • Scroll down to the "Links" section of the record. 
  • Click on the link "Request the item with Interlibrary Loan/ILLiad.
  • You'll be prompted to log in with your Ball State username and password.  Complete and submit the form.  You'll get an email when the article is available.  Consult the Interlibrary Loan FAQ for more information about this service.