Guide Overview

Choosing Your Research Topic
In his book, Writing the Doctoral Dissertation (pp. 61-63), Gordon Davis identifies several sources for identifying your research topic:
  • Current events
  • Further research suggestions from past dissertations, articles, etc.
  • Suggestions for research by authorities in the field
  • Expressions of need for research by practitioners in a field or from professional associations
  • Unproved or weakly proved assertations by an authority in the field
  • Theories and concepts without supporting research
  • Different approaches to testing of important results
Find Background Information
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Empirical Articles
An empirical article is a research article that reports the results of a study that uses data derived from actual observation or experimentation.

Format of Article:
  • Abstract – summary of the study
  • Introduction – literature review
  • Methods – methodology used
  • Results – data results/analysis
  • Discussion – significance of study
  • References – works used/cited
For empirical articles in ERIC, select Reports -- Research as the Publication Type.
ERIC and PsycINFO databases have limiter tools to narrow results by methodology type (empirical). Few databases have this limiter tool. However, you can use keywords to locate empirical research articles by using the following terms: empirical, methods, methodology, research design, survey, data, results.
Citation Searching
Citation searching, also called citation tracking or citation tracing, is searching for scholarly resources through citations instead of keywords. Citation searching works best after you have found several relevant resources.
You can find resources by reviewing the reference list of an article or book you’ve determined is relevant to your research. Search for books using WorldCat . Your results list will indicate whether or not the Library owns the book. If the Library does not have the book, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) . For articles, look for the journal title using Find a Journal
You can also search forward in time by using a tool like Google Scholar . In this case, you search on the title of the resource you already have. In the results, you’ll see the link “Cited by.” Select this link to find works that cite your original research. See How to search by citations: Cited By searching in Google Scholar for more details. Other databases include this feature as well. Look for phrases like "Times Cited in this Database" or "Cited by."
Search Databases for Scholarly Articles
Find Articles After You Graduate
ELM logo
After you graduate from SCSU, you can still access scholarly journal articles through ELM (Electronic Library of Minnesota). You may need a barcode or identification number from your local public library to sign into these databases.

ELM: Electronic Library for Minnesota (eLibraryMN)

On the ELM homepage, click All Databases. Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, and several other databases are available for you to search.

If you find an article that isn't available in full text, you may be able to order it through interlibrary loan at your public library.
Database Search Tips

Advanced Searching on EBSCOhost - Tutorial from EBSCO on Vimeo.

Library databases contain scholarly information that is not usually freely available through Google. Searching the databases can be challenging because they work differently than Google.
  • Search by concepts, taking out common words like effect, affect, good, bad, etc.
  • Using AND focuses or limits your search (you get fewer results). Using OR broadens or expands your search (you get more results).
  • Use * to search for different word endings (child* searches child, child's, children, children's but also childbirth) and plurals.
  • Use quotation marks around phrases.
  • Try the Advanced Search. Change the "field" you are search using the pull down menu (for example, search for keywords only in the "Title" of an article).
Accessing Full Text Articles
When searching the databases for articles, look for the one of these links to access full text:

If you don't see full text links, click on the Find It! button to view the easiest way to access the article:

If an online full text option is not available, you will either see information about where the physical item is in the library OR be prompted to Sign in to order the item through Interlibrary Loan.
Finding Materials in the Library
Husky Fetch
Need books from the Library, but don't have time to go search for them in the building? Husky Fetch is the name of our paging service. Just place a hold on the book/s you want through the library catalog, and Husky Fetch will assemble them for you and have them waiting at the Circulation Desk. 

Library Access for Distance Students
Find Books from the Library

Search for Books and More or Books Only

Find books, videos, DVDs, government documents, music scores, and more. To find the items in the library, look for the library location and call number.
Search for Dissertations

Dissertation Abstracts - PQDT Open
Selective index to open access masters theses and dissertations from U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and Europe. Note: This is an open access subset of Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI).
Search Other Libraries

Great River Regional Library (St. Cloud Public Library)
The public library has a wide variety of fiction and popular materials that complement the academic resources at the SCSU library. Students may Apply for a Free Library Card to borrow materials.
Browse the Library's eBook Collections

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Find Videos
Literature Reviews
Literature Reviews 
From The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina

Write a Literature Review (Includes video tutorials)
From Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries

Write a Literature Review 
Seven Steps to Writing a Literature Review from McLaughlin Library at the University of Guelph. 

Write Place
The Write Place offers one-on-one tutoring at any stage in the writing process. Make an online appointment or visit Webster Hall 117 or University Library 135E. 
Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students
From North Carolina State University Libraries

Culminating Projects
As you start your culminating project, use the Dissertation Calculator from the University of Minnesota Libraries to help you stay on track.

Your culminating project will be submitted to the Repository at St. Cloud State University (Institutional Repository). The Repository provides open access to a diverse collection of academic, scholarly, scientific, and creative content produced by faculty, students, and staff at the University. As you progress through your program, watch for more information about preparing and uploading your proposal, draft for committee members, and final copy to the Repository. Your culminating project will also be available through the SCSU library catalog.