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Student Library Guide: Getting Help

This research guide is designed to provide all Barry University students a basic overview of the resources and services available at the Monsignor William Barry Memorial Library.

Getting Help


The Monsignor William Barry Memorial Library has several Librarians who are available to help.

Here are some of the ways your Librarian can assist with your library needs:

  • Teach you to quickly find information.
  • Information Literacy - is this a reliable source? What's a peer-reviewed article?
  • Research Instruction - individual, group, in-class.
  • Library guides for academic subject areas as well as for citing sources, test preparation, archives and special collections, career resources, and more.
  • Librarians continually evaluate the collection to keep resources current, relevant, and credible.



Merlene Nembhard, M.S.
Electronic Resources Coordinator
Reference Librarian

Eduardo Porben, M.S.
Reference & Instruction Librarian

Contact Us

Remember! We are here to help. If you need any assistance with using the library and its resources, contact us for assistance.


Phone: 305-899-3760

Browse our subject guides:

Check out our knowledge base:  Library FAQs

Stop by! Campus Map


AFTER HOURS assistance, use the statewide Ask-A-Librarian service.

Research Guides by Subject

Finding Articles


Library tools for finding journal articles


Databases are electronic indexes or catalogs of published books, journals, journal articles, conference papers, data, etc. The Monsignor William Barry Memorial Library subscribes to nearly 150 electronic databases.

On the Barry Library Homepage, you will find in the center column Databases by Subject and Databases by Title.

Databases by Subject: Here is a list of categories that will help you choose the best databases for your area of study.

Databases by Title: Here you will find links and descriptions of our databases in alphabetical order.

  • Select the first letter in the database name (ex: "E" for ERIC).
  • Scroll through the complete list of databases.

Single Search

Using the library's single search engine, you will find most of the resources available from the Monsignor William Barry Memorial Library, including books and eBooks, journal articles, streaming audio/video, DVDs & videos, dissertations and theses, and much more.

eJournal Directory: Barry's Online Journals

Use the Publication Finder to locate Barry Library's
electronic journal collection either by title or subject.

With the Publication Finder you can find a specific journal title, e.g., Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, or choose a group of eJournals based on a subject related to your research (Education). Publication Finder displays the database(s) that include full-text articles for that journal. Before selecting a database, note the years available for that journal.

Other Libraries



The library can get it for you within a few days with our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. ILL provides current Barry University Faculty, Staff, and Students access to resources not available at the Monsignor William Barry Memorial Library.

ILL’s hours of operation are Monday–Friday from 9:00 am-5:00 pm. Borrowing services can be reached at 305-899-3943 or at

Each participating institution issues the SEFLIN One Card to its patrons, students, faculty, and professional library staff according to its own policies.

A SEFLIN OneCard is available (free) to all currently registered Barry students in Southeast Florida. Request a SEFLIN OneCard at the Library's Main Floor Circulation Desk. To receive a SEFLIN card by mail, contact Circulation Supervisor at 305.899.3943 or 1.800.756.6000 x3943.

WorldCat contains over 40 million citations to books, periodicals, sound recordings, videos, musical scores, archival materials and much more, representing holdings of most libraries in North America and some in Europe.

You can search for popular books, music CDs and videos—all of the physical items you're used to getting from libraries. You can also discover many new kinds of digital content, such as downloadable audiobooks. You may also find article citations with links to their full text; authoritative research materials, such as documents and photos of local or historic significance; and digital versions of rare items that aren't available to the public. Because WorldCat libraries serve diverse communities in dozens of countries, resources are available in many languages.

Books & eBooks

Search for books/ebooks in the Library Catalog


Use wildcards, boolean operators, limiters, and grouping for better results.
Visit the 'Help" or 'FAQ' links below for additional information.

Dissertation and Thesis Databases

eBook Collections

Frequently used eBook collections:

The Research Proces

The Research Paper Process

  • Choose a Topic
    • Understand your assignment parameters, requirements, and due dates
  • Conduct Background Research
    • Search for news articles, top hits on Google, and encyclopedia articles.
  • Refine your Topic
    • Narrow down what you want to investigate. Think about the who, what, when, where, and why for your topic.
  • Create a Research Question
    • Come up with a tentative question you want to answer in your project.
  • Develop a Search Strategy
    • Select your resources and develop your keywords
  • Search
    • Conduct multiple searches in relevant resources
  • Evaluate your Results and Sources
    • Use the CRAAP model: currency, relevancy, authority, accuracy, and purpose
  • Adjust and/or Repeat your Search
    • Try different keywords, resources, and strategies depending on your needs
  • Start Writing
    • Incorporate your sources into your writing from the beginning
  • Review and Re-Search
    • Fill in the holes, explore new areas of interest, dig deeper, etc.
  • Cite, Review, and Edit
  • Put the final touches on your project
Make sure you understand your assignment and its requirements.

Consider the following:

  • Have you been assigned a topic or can you pick your own?
  • How many pages/words do you need to write?
  • Do you need to include specific types of sources? (e.g. scholarly articles, books, newspapers, etc.)
  • When is the assignment due?

When in doubt, consult with your instructor.

Can’t think of a topic to research?
  •     Scan your textbook for broad topic ideas.
  •     Review your class discussions, notes, and readings.
  •     Browse print and electronic encyclopedias.
  •     Look at databases that feature articles on current events and controversial issues such as Opposing Viewpoints in Context or CQ Researcher (Congressional Quarterly Researcher).
  •     Discuss potential topics with your instructor, a librarian, or a classmate.
Ask yourself the following questions to help you generate topic ideas:
  •     Do you have a strong opinion on a current social or political controversy?
  •     Did you read or see a news story recently that has interested you?
  •     Do you have a personal issue, problem, or interest that you would like to know more about?
  •     Is there an aspect of one of your classes that you would like to learn more about?
How to Develop a Good Research Topic

KstateLibraries. (2013, August 20). How to Develop a Good Research Topic [Video]. YouTube.
Effective Searching

The easiest way to search for information electronically is to enter a couple of keywords into the search box of the resource and see what type of results you get. This strategy, however, will often result in too few, too many, or irrelevant results.

In order to retrieve the most relevant results, you will need to construct a search string.  A search string is a combination of keywords, truncation symbols, and boolean operators you enter into the search box of an electronic library resource or an Internet search engine.

Boolean searching is the traditional way to search for information in most online databases and on the Internet. Boolean operators are connector words (AND, OR, and NOT) used to create phrases and concepts based on specific rules of search logic.

Search Operators
" " (quotations) Use quotation marks around two or more words to find words or word variants in an exact order. "social justice"
+ (plus sign) Use before a search term to find results containing that term. +education
( )  (parenthesis) Use around search terms to group items when using AND, OR, NOT. (disaster OR emergency) AND (funding OR appropriations)
~ (tilde) Use with a number after two or more words enclosed in quotation marks to find results containing all words (or word variants) within the specified distance from each other. "social justice"~10
? (question mark) Use in the middle or end of a word to indicate a single character ‘wildcard’. Finds results that include the search term with a single character variant. wom?n
* (asterisk)  Use in the middle or end of a word to indicate a multiple character ‘wildcard’. Finds results that include the search term with zero or more character variants. educa*

There is a vast amount of information available on the Internet. However, the Internet is not regulated by any agency, so anyone can post information that may not be reliable. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the information before using it as a source.

Scholarly Literature

Types of Scholarly Literature

You will encounter many types of articles and it is important to distinguish between these different categories of scholarly literature. Keep in mind the following definitions.

Peer-reviewed (or refereed):  Refers to articles that have undergone a rigorous review process, often including revisions to the original manuscript, by peers in their discipline, before publication in a scholarly journal. This can include empirical studies, review articles, meta-analyses among others.

Empirical study (or primary article):  An empirical study is one that aims to gain new knowledge on a topic through direct or indirect observation and research. These include quantitative or qualitative data and analysis. In science, an empirical article will often include the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion.

Review article:  In the scientific literature, this is a type of article that provides a synthesis of existing research on a particular topic. These are useful when you want to get an idea of a body of research that you are not yet familiar with. It differs from a systematic review in that it does not aim to capture ALL of the research on a particular topic.

Systematic review:  This is a methodical and thorough literature review focused on a particular research question. It's aim is to identify and synthesize all of the scholarly research on a particular topic in an unbiased, reproducible way to provide evidence for practice and policy-making. It may involve a meta-analysis (see below).

Meta-analysis:  This is a type of research study that combines or contrasts data from different independent studies in a new analysis in order to strengthen the understanding of a particular topic. There are many methods, some complex, applied to performing this type of analysis.

Peer Review in 3 Minutes

North Carolina State University Library. (2014, May 1). Peer Review in 3 Minutes [Video]. Youtube.

Publication Types

An important part of gathering and evaluating sources for research projects is knowing the difference between scholarly, popular, and trade publications.

  • Scholarly articles are written by researchers or experts in a particular field. They use specialized vocabulary, have extensive citations, and are often peer-reviewed.
  • Popular magazine articles are typically written by journalists to entertain or inform a general audience,
  • Trade publications may be written by experts in a certain industry, but they are not considered scholarly, as they share general news, trends, and opinions, rather than advanced research, and are not peer-reviewed.

The physical appearance of print sources can help you identify the type of source as well. Scholarly journals are usually smaller and thicker with plain covers and images. Popular magazines and trade publications are usually glossy with many photos. In electronic sources you can check for bibliographies and author credentials or affiliations as potential indicators of scholarly sources.

Scholarly (including peer-reviewed)

Trade Publications

Popular Magazines


Research results/ reports; reviews of research (review articles); book reviews 

Articles about a certain business or industry

Current events; general interest articles


To share research or scholarship with the academic community

To inform about business or industry news, trends, or products 

To inform, entertain, or elicit an emotional response



Staff writers, business/industry professionals

Staff writers, journalists, freelancers


Scholars, researchers, students

Business/industry professionals

General public


Editorial board made up of other scholars and researchers. Some articles are peer-reviewed

Staff editor

Staff editor


Bibliographies, references, endnotes, footnotes

Few, may or may not have any

May not have citations, or may be informal (ex. according to... or links)


Quarterly or semi-annually




Minimal, usually only for scholarly products like books

Ads are for products geared toward specific industry

Numerous ads for a variety of products

Examples in Library Databases

Primary Sources

Primary Sources

A primary source is a firsthand or eyewitness account of information by an individual close to the topic. Examples of primary sources include autobiographies, personal correspondence (e.g., diary entries, letters), government documents, works of art and literature, statistics and data, and newspaper articles written by reporters close to the source. Today, even some social media posts are considered primary sources, because they are firsthand accounts of information.

Purdue OWL. (n.d.). Primary vs. Secondary Sources. Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Primary Sources (6:11)

Stanford University Library. (2017, November 27). Primary Sources [Video]. YouTube.

Library Databases

Open Access


Newspaper Databases

Streaming Media

Academic Video Online: Premium

Academic Video Online: Premium - Streaming video resource covering the following areas and more: art, architecture, counseling and therapy, dance, education, law and public safety, literature, opera, psychology, theatre, and musical performance.

Films On Demand

Films On Demand - Web-based digital video delivery service.


Kanopy - Video streaming platform with over 30,000 award-winning documentaries, foreign and indie films, training films, classic movies and more.

Additional Streaming Video Databases

Writing & Citing

Center for Academic Success & Advising

Through a range of customized services — from First-Year Academic Advising and individualized academic success coaching to professional tutoring to financial aid counseling — CASA ensures that students have the support they need to realize their full potential at Barry University.

Barry University’s Glenn Hubert Learning Center serves as an academic resource for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students seeking assistance with college-level reading and analytical thinking skills, writing, and mathematics. Through GHLC’s Mathematics Laboratory, Reading Center, and Writing Center, students can work one-on-one with experienced professional tutors and obtain necessary support to be successful in a college-classroom setting. Services provided by the GHLC include customized directed tutorials, workshops, seminars, and classroom visitations, among others.

Citation Research Guide

Barry University guide to citing and writing.

Purdue OWL

Purdue OWL is the foremost writing assistance resource. You will find a multitude of resources detailing all aspects of research and writing.

OWL Purdue. (2020, November 30). APA 7th Edition: References | Part I [Video]. YouTube.

OWL Purdue. (2020, December 2). APA 7th Edition: References | Part II [Video]. YouTube.

Literature Review

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a critical summary of what the scientific literature says about your specific topic or question. Often student research in APA fields falls into this category. Your professor might ask you to write this kind of paper to demonstrate your familiarity with work in the field pertinent to the research you hope to conduct.

While the APA Publication Manual does not require a specific order for a literature review, a good literature review typically contains the following components:

  • Introduction
  • Thesis statement
  • Summary and synthesis of sources
  • List of references

Some instructors may also want you to write an abstract for a literature review, so be sure to check with them when given an assignment. Also, the length of a literature review and the required number of sources will vary based on course and instructor preferences.

NOTE: A literature review and an annotated bibliography are not synonymous. While both types of writing involve examining sources, the literature review seeks to synthesize the information and draw connections between sources. If you are asked to write an annotated bibliography, you should consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for the APA Format for Annotated Bibliographies.

Perdue OWL: Writing a Literature Review

A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research (scholarship) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.

Perdue OWL: Social Work Literature Review Guidelines

Literature reviews are designed to do two things: 1) give your readers an overview of sources you have explored while researching a particular topic or idea and 2) demonstrate how your research fits into the larger field of study, in this case, social work.


Scribbr. (2020, April 3). How to Write a Literature Review: 3 Minute Step-by-step Guide [Video]. Youtube.

Scribbr. (2021, March 14). LITERATURE REVIEW: Step by step guide for writing an effective literature review [Video]. Youtube.

Books in the Barry collection

Web Resources