Community Development

A subject guide to support research in the field of Community Development.

Library Research Guide

Searching Tips

Databases vs. Internet searches:

  • Databases offer electronic access to articles, book chapters, reports, etc. that have been compiled and cataloged by a reputable organization.
  • K-State Libraries subscribes to databases and the information found here is generally not freely available on the Internet.  
  • Databases are global in scope and content which is created and maintained by various companies and organizations.

Search Tips:

Keywords: It can be helpful to track the terminology/keywords that work best as well as possible synonyms, and experiment with different search terms. 

Advanced Search/Guided Search: these options offer multiple search boxes allowing greater control and use of Boolean Operators (AND & OR & NOT).

  • AND = both concepts must be present, helps limit the search
  • OR = great for synonyms, helps broaden the search while staying within the subject area
  • NOT = exclude an unrelated term, or to weed out irrelevant results

Subject Headings: "Subject Headings" or "Descriptors" help narrow your search. These tags group items by category. Different databases recognize different terms and as you find them, you can construct your search using the terminology of that database. 

Get It: No full text available? Click the "Get It" button or link to view your options for connecting with the full text. It may be available electronically, such as a print copy available on campus, or via Interlibrary Loan. 

Truncation: Using truncation, a search for teen* collects "teen", "teens", "teenager", "teenagers", etc. by adding all possible endings to the word stem (broadens your search while staying on topic). The truncation symbol may differ by resource.

Wildcard: Use "wildcard".  For example: wom?n searches for "women" or "woman"

Help: Look for the “Help” section or Ask a Librarian.

What Are Scholarly Journals?

According to Cornell University Libraries, there are several characteristics that define a scholarly journal:

  • They generally have a more “serious” look meaning there’s less emphasis on glossy pages and fancy photographs and more put on text, graphs and charts.  
  • Scholarly journals always cite their sources. This is usually in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. 
  • Articles are written by scholars in that particular field or who have done research in that field.  
  • The language of the article contains language used in that discipline.  
  • The author assumes the audience has some prior knowledge of the research or background in that field. 
  • Lastly, the purpose of a scholarly journal is to report on original research and make that information available to other people. 
Below are some examples of scholarly journals:
Developmental Psychology cover    Journal of Marriage and Family cover   Journal of Abnormal Psychology cover

Peer Review Defined

Peer review:

  • Refers to a quality-control process in which scholarly works are formally reviewed by a panel of experts in an author's discipline, prior to publication.

  • In the peer-review process, material submitted for publication is sent to individuals who are experts on the topic. Those experts read the material and suggest to the editor whether the material should be rejected, accepted, or be sent back to the authors with a request for revisions.

  • This official editorial process is meant to ensure that authors of these works maintained a sufficient degree of academic rigor and applied high standards of research to their work.

  • Peer-reviewed works are considered scholarly; but not all scholarly works have been submitted through a peer-review process.


Equation: Written by scholars + Reviewed by scholars = Peer-reviewed