Librarians can help you find and evaluate information on any topic. To reach them, call the Reference Desk at 724-357-3006, send an email to LibAnswers at: http://answers.lib.iup.edu/, or text a question to: 724-401-1987.
Government Information. Ask a Librarian is a governmentally run chat service that answers questions related to federal government information. http://govtinfo.org/
IUP Libraries subscribe to our databases from vendors who require us to limit access to IUP users only. There are a number of ways you can access library databases from off-campus. For more information, see the Accessing Library Information from Off-Campus Guide
Professional and ethical researchers are recognized by their practice of appropriately citing the resources they use in their research. The IUP Discovery tool (and most other library databases) provide assistance in properly citing the resources they used to prepare their reports.
The CARS Checklist for Research Source Evaluation
The CARS Checklist (Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, and Support) is designed for ease of learning and use. Few sources will meet every criterion in the list, and even those that do may not possess the highest level of quality possible. But if you learn to use the criteria in this list, you will be much more likely to separate the high quality information from the poor quality information.
Credibility- trustworthy source, author’s credentials, evidence of quality control, known or respected authority, organizational support. Goal: an authoritative source, a source that supplies some good evidence that allows you to trust it.
Accuracy- up to date, factual, detailed, exact, comprehensive, audience and purpose reflect intentions of completeness and accuracy. Goal: a source that is correct today (not yesterday), a source that gives the whole truth.
Reasonableness -fair, balanced, objective, reasoned, no conflict of interest, absence of fallacies or slanted tone. Goal: source that engages the subject thoughtfully and reasonably, concerned with the truth.
Support -listed sources, contact information, available corroboration, claims supported, documentation supplied. Goal: a source that provides convincing evidence for the claims made, a source you can triangulate (find at least two other sources that support it).
See entire discussion of CARS at the CARS website:
United States Government Resources
Much of the information gathered by federal and state government agencies in the course of doing their work is free of copyright and available freely on the Internet in some form. Use the following sites as starting points to access that information:
Finding Government Information through a Google Search
Google’s advanced search allows you to limit your search results to government sites or domains. Type .gov or .pa.gov (or other state) to limit results to federal or state government websites.
Archived Information from Government Websites
Studies indicate that students who use library resources and services are more successful academically than those who do not. Here are some library databases that you can use to help you find the best information on government agencies.
IUP Libraries Discovery Tool
IUP Libraries Discovery Tool searches many of our collections in one step. The library catalog, our list of electronic journals, and our electronic databases can all be searched from the same starting point. Choosing the appropriate tab allows you to search the collection you choose.
IUP Libraries subscribes to over 250 specialized databases to support our users' research. Content in many, but not all, of these databases can be found through our Discovery tool, but searching them directly is often the most efficient way to locate the information you seek. Specialized databases that support research in public policy and political science include:
Information on local communities
US Federal and State Governments gather statistics on a multitude of topics that relate to communities to help them do their work and understand the people they serve. Here are a list of important providers of statistical information.
LIbrary Databases that provide access to a wealth of statistical sources:
Data Planet The Data-Planet repository of statistical content currently holds more than 5,000 datasets containing billions of data points presented in 2+ billion views of data (maps, trends, tables, rankings). All of the data have been standardized, structured, and described with 37 fields of metadata and controlled editorial descriptions and information on where the data came from.