When thinking about effective and efficient ways of finding the best resources for specific research needs, one needs to know exactly what they are researching. If you are doing research on a new medicine coming out, a proprietary or subscription based database would be the place to go. The main benefit or proprietary or subscription-based databases is their credibility. These databases take the extra pre-caution of screening their content before they store it. One example is JSTOR, which is short for Journal Storage. It is a digital library that was founded in 1955 and originally contained digitized back issues of academic journals. Now it also includes books, primary sources and current issues of almost 2000 journals.

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As JSTOR is a proprietary database, it is mainly licensed to academic institutions, public libraries, research institutions, museums and schools. (“At a glance”(PDF).JSTOR. February 13, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2012). Another example would be ProQuest. ProQuest is a web-based information service that provides access to a number of databases covering various subject disciplines, including business and management, education, science, computing, medicine, telecommunications, the social sciences and newspapers – local and overseas (www. http://lib.hku.hk).

Their research library features a highly-respected, diversified mix of general reference, scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, and newspapers. If you need reliable and credible information for your research papers, proprietary or subscription-based databases are where you want to look. There are differences between scholarly resources and popular resources, but the key difference is the required peer review process for scholarly journal articles.

The peer review is a publishing process in academic fields. Before editors decide whether to accept an article for publication in a scholarly journal, they need to send this article to other researchers in this article’s subject area to do a review. This process is called “peer review” because the author’s peers (i.e. other scholars) decide if the article should be published. Some characteristics of scholarly resources – they have original research and in-depth analysis, technical language, assumes college education, experts in the subjects they are writing about, extensive documentation and almost always has alist of works cited. Examples would be Sociological Review, Journal of Asian Studies and the Journal of Philosophy.

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Some characteristics of popular resources – mainly current events, popular topics, entertainment, no original research by the author, assumes only 8th grade education, rarely documents sources and has vague documentation. (http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu)The key to being the most effective and efficient in finding resources that best fit your needs is to know what type of information you need. If you do not have a clear vision of what type of information you need, you can end up wasting a lot of time looking in the wrong place for your information.

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