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Italian Studies: Research tips

Finding information

Information is a key element of your studies, but it is important to know where it comes from and how reliable it is. The Library can help you can help you find what you need and assess the reliability of your sources.This includes:

  • Identifying types of information
  • Finding information
  • Evaluating what you find

Check out the Library's finding and evaluating sources webpage to get in-depth tips for every step of the process. 

Searching with common symbols: 

  • To search phrases put them in quotations marks to find the words in that exact order. For example, search "Italian drama" or "Italian culture" to get more relevant results.
  • To search for words that might have alternative spellings use a wildcard (represented by a question mark) and position it where the different spelling might occur. For example, globali?ation, wom?n, colo?r.
  • Use OR to connect words that are synonymous (similar in meaning) to broaden your search, for example; Italian OR Italy
  • Use AND to connect words that are different in meaning but are relevant for what you are researching, for example; Italy AND gender.
  • Use Truncation (represented by an asterisks) to search all the forms of a word that might have different endings, for example; Ital* = Italian, Italy, Italians, Italian's. 
Searching with Diacritics

Monash Library Search is not sensitive to diacritic searching. A diacritic, also known as an accent is a small symbol assigned to a letter that changes the pronunciation of the word. This means that the accent mark (é), cedilla (ç), or umlaut (ÿare read as (e), (c) and (y), respectively.

Databases such as EBSCO have setting options that you can switch on to allow you to use accents, cedillas and umlauts in your keyword searches, whilst other databases such as Proquest use a similar setting to the Monash Library Search. 

Analysing sources

Analyse the references you find by considering the following: 

  1. Source of Content
  2. The publisher
  3. The authors
  4. The intended audience
  5. The language and appearance

Interested to learn more? Check out this RLO tutorial on evaluating information.

Definitions

Peer Reviewed

Peer review is a process in which an article is evaluated by experts (usually researchers at a university) before it is published. "Peer reviewed articles" have been through this process successfully.

Peer reviewed is sometimes also referred to as "scholarly" or "refereed".

Primary vs. Secondary sources

A primary source is a document or object that was written or created at the time under investigation. It provides a first hand account or personal viewpoint of an event or time period. Examples of a primary source include:

  • eyewitness account
  • diary entry
  • newspaper article
  • interview

A secondary source describes, analyses or evaluates these primary sources.