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LNACC Library Guide: Read before you start! First steps.

This guide will help the students served by the LNACC navigate the library.


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In addition, try looking at our 60 Second Tutorials for to-the-point video tutorials that give you just the info you need.

Picking a Topic

Sometimes it is hard to pick a topic for your research.

1. Brainstorm. Think of at least five possibilities that fit the assignment.

2. Pick a topic that interest you. You'll be spending time reading and thinking about it, so it should be something that interests you.

3. Match your topic to the scope of the assignment.

4. Ask a question. This may not be necessary every time, but asking a question can be a helpful way to frame your research.

5. Make sure your topic fits the assignment. Reread the assignment and if you're not sure, check with your instructor.

Lesson - Databases from's Information Literacy with Elsa Loftis

As a student at the University of Iowa, you have access to an incredible wealth of information resources available to you through your library. We subscribe to databases that will help you find the magazine, journal, and newspaper articles you need for your academic research. To get started, watch this short video tutorial on Databases to get a better understanding of what these tools can do for you. Access to this video is limited to University of Iowa students and staff. Login with your HawkID credentials.

View the Databases tutorial from's Information Literacy with Elsa Loftis 

databases tutorial

Selecting and Using the Best Research Resources

University Press vs. Regular Publishers

Scholarly (Periodicals/Journals/Magazines)

Scholarly periodicals traditionally have a serious look. Here are some items to look for if you are not sure if an article you find is indeed scholarly. 

  • Scholarly article(s) will have been written by a scholar in a specific field of study
  • Scholarly articles ALWAYS cite their sources in either footnotes or bibliographies 
  • Scholarly articles will have gone through a peer-review process
  • Scholarly articles are published by associations and universities 
  • Scholarly articles are void of flashy advertisements and glossy photographs. 
Examples of Scholarly Journals include: 

Non-Scholarly (Periodicals/Journals/Magazines)

  • Article often contains advertising, glossy photos and are more visually entertaining 
  • Articles are NOT peer-reviewed 
  • Articles may be written by a variety of staff members, from free lance writers to staff members, NOT scholars in that field of study 
  • Articles primary interest is to provide information to a broad audience 
  • Commercial publishers generally produce these journals 
  • No references are provided in footnotes and/or a bibliography 
Examples of Non-Scholarly (Periodicals/Journals/Magazines) 
The Economist
National Geographic
Scientific American 




Video Tutorials

Short (1-5 minute) flash videos about library services and resources

Online@Iowa Tutorials - Using the Library