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ANS 280: Companion Animal Management

Research guide to support library research for Oregon State University's ANS 280, Companion Animal Management class.


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Hannah Rempel
Do you have questions about library sources, finding information, framing research questions, using citation managers? Send me an email and we'll find a time to meet via Zoom or other online tools.

What do you need for this assignment?

Remember to review the Controversial Topics assignment details before beginning your research.

Here is a short summary of what you need to search for:

  • Information both for and against your assigned controversy
  • At least three sources, at least two of which must be textbooks or peer-reviewed journal articles.

This page will walk through some tips for finding appropriate sources for this assignment.

Where to Search for Sources that Support Your Claims

Begin by Thinking About What Evidence You Need

When thinking about a controversial topic (especially when you don't agree with the arguments), it can help to think about how your audience, claims, criteria, and evidence intersect.  This list of questions and research tools is only a start -- there are additional resources you can use to find answers to all of these questions.

Questions Evidence    Research Tools
What does the research say? Scholarly articles, Whitepapers, Books, etc.

Scholarly databases

Google Scholar

Scholarly Blogs or News Sites

What do the numbers say? Statistics, Profits, Ratings, etc.

Government websites

Business Information

News databases


Watch the following video to learn more about evaluating sources, as well as how to determine if an article is peer reviewed, or use the screenshots and text below to learn more.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Where to Search for Peer-Reviewed Articles?

Peer-reviewed articles report on experiments scientists have done to answer a research question. Usually, these research questions are very specific, and scientists use highly specialized language to report on what they learned. Both finding and reading peer-reviewed journal articles takes practice. Learn more about peer-reviewed articles on the Is It Peer Reviewed? guide.

Start in a search tool that focuses almost entirely on peer-reviewed or scholarly sources. The search tool I suggest for this assignment is Academic Search Premier.

Watch the following video on finding peer-reviewed sources or use the screenshots and text to learn how to find and read sources on controversial topics.

1. Start your search in Academic Search Premier with a few broad search terms. Then if you only want to see results from peer-reviewed journals, use the narrowing option on the left side of the search results page to limit to just scholarly (peer reviewed) journals.

2. Read the titles and abstracts to look for signals that the source will provide evidence to back up their claims. To see the abstract, hover over the magnifying glass to the right of the article title.

3. To read the full-text of an article that interests you, click on the Find it@OSU button.

4. Log in with your ONID, then under the View It section of the page that opens, click on the link with the publisher's name.


Database Search Tips

1. You may need to repeat your search several times to find information that supports both sides of your controversial topic. Use language you find in the search results list to adjust your search terms and brainstorm new ideas. For example, my starting search was for dog shock collars. This article title introduced the phrase "aversive-based training methods," which I can use in my next search.

2. If you need a peer-reviewed journal article that provides a more general overview to your topic, consider searching for review articles. Add the word review as a keyword, and select review article or review of literature from the drop-down list that will appear. Learn more about  different types of literature, including review articles on the ANS 420 guide.

Books or Textbooks

Finding eBooks at OSU Libraries

Search for books or articles on your controversial topic using the OSU Libraries 1Search.

Enter a few keywords. To specifically focus on eBooks, use the narrowing options on the right side of the results page to just display the eBooks in our collection.


Requesting Books in Print or That the OSU Libraries Don't Own

Sometimes when you do a search in OSU Libraries 1Search you will find books (or articles) you want that are either only available in print or that the OSU Libraries don't own. You can almost always request to have these books (or articles) sent to you.

1. Either click the request this item link (this means another library in the Pacific Northwest owns the book).

Or click the Available at ... link (this means the OSU Libraries owns a print copy).

2. On the next page, if the book you want is from another library, the link will say place Summit request.

If the book you want is from the OSU Libraries, the link will say request OSU's copy.

3. You only need to complete the fields with a star. Under the pickup/delivery location drop-down menu, choose home delivery.

Learn more about borrowing articles from other academic libraries on the Ecampus borrowing articles guide.

Guidelines for Evaluating Sources

There is no simple formula for evaluating sources; evaluation always depends on your own rhetorical situation (who your audience is, what the purpose of your argument is).  

Here is a basic framework you can use to evaluate your rhetorical situation and analyze how well your sources support it:

1. Is the source useful to you?

  • Does it provide the kind of information you need?
  • Does it meet your assignment requirements?
  • Does it make you think? Did it spark further questions or suggest additional lines of inquiry?
  • Does it help you contextualize or understand other sources?

2. Is this the type of source your audience expects you to use?

  • Is it at the right level -- not too difficult nor too easy for your audience? 
  • Will it give you more credibility with your audience if you use it?

3. Who created the source?

  • Is the author identified AND if they are, are they someone you find credible?
  • If the author is not identified, is there a group or institution responsible for the source?  Do you find that group credible?
  • Have you done whatever additional research you need to do to decide if the author is credible or useful? 

4. What is the author's (or institution's or agency's) purpose in creating this source?

  • Are they trying to persuade you to do or think something specific?
  • Are they selling something?
  • Does their purpose or agenda affect the quality of their evidence? Did it affect how they presented it?

5. (If the source is a scholarly one) is it a good example of research in the discipline?

  • Do they use citations, footnotes, etc. to connect their work to the rest of the field?
  • Is the source referenced by other scholars you've found?
  • Is it current enough to meet your needs?
  • Was it published in a journal or other source important in the field?

(This framework is adapted from one created by OSU librarian Anne-Marie Deitering in The Academic Writer, by Lisa Ede)

What Do Peer-Reviewed Articles (usually) look like?

Reading a scholarly article can seem daunting at first. Scholarly articles are long and have a lot of data. If you break down the article into components, it will make it easier to read and understand.

For a quick overview, click on the link below to see an example of a scholarly article and its parts.

parts of a scholarly article