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Public Safety Leadership Development: Home

Library support for research and writing.

Scholarly Articles

What to look for in a scholarly article:

Articles are often about research done in a field.

Is the content newsy (newspapers) or popular (magazines) in content? 

Was it written by a scholar? Look at the author's degrees and institutional affiliation. 

Is the journal peer reviewed? Peer reviewed articles have been evaluated by other experts or scholars in the field. 

Are there footnotes? list of citations or references?

Was the publisher an educational institution?  a professional organization or association?

Is the tone professional or written to an intended audience? Does it use technical terms or special vocabulary?

Are there graphs and charts?

County Libraries

With a public library card from your home county, you can access most of their databases from any location:

Orange County Library - has a virtual library with online databases that are accessible from your home or office with use of an Orange County library card. Try one of our databases for up to date and reliable information on a variety of topics. With your card number and PIN, most of this information is available to you from home or office 24/7.

Osceola County Library- has an eLibrary with their databases. All of the databases can be accessed from within any library by using designated computers that have dedicated access to the databases. Most of the databases can also be accessed remotely via any Internet connected computer, such as those in your home or office.  You must have a valid Osceola Library card to remotely access the databases. You will be prompted to enter your 13-digit library card number upon accessing each database.

Lake County Library - has a virtual library with online reference databases.  Patrons can access these databases from Internet computers at any member or branch library or from a home, school or work computer that has an Internet connection. The only thing you will need is your library card number.

Seminole County Library - has a virtual branch with online resources available 24/7.  Get instant access to premium databases, trusted Internet resources and magazine and newspaper articles. Dig deeper using the reference eBooks in our Virtual Reference Library Database.  The arts, business, education, history, law, medicine, science and more.  They have a mobile app for your IPhone, IPad, or Android.


Free Resources

Florida Electronic Library Recommended Databases

The Florida Electronic library has several useful databases:

Academic Onefile - Academic OneFile is the premier source for peer-reviewed, full-text articles from the world's leading journals and reference sources. With extensive coverage of all academic disciplines, Academic OneFile is authoritative and comprehensive. Millions of articles available in both PDF and HTML full-text with no restrictions, including full-text coverage of the New York Times since 1995. Updated daily.

Criminal Justice Collection - whether studying to become a lawyer or law enforcement officer, paralegal, or for a career in Homeland Security, this collection rises to the challenge. Users will have access to 150 journals.

Gale Virtual Reference Library - a database of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.

General OneFile - A one-stop source for news and periodical articles on a wide range of topics: business, computers, current events, economics, education, environmental issues, health care, hobbies, humanities, law, literature and art, politics, science, social science, sports, technology, and many general interest topics. Millions of full-text articles, many with images. Updated daily. (Access is through your public library system with your library card number and password for that library system; ie. Orange County Library System requires your last name, library card number, and library card PIN for access to their databases.) 

Depending on your topic, many others databases may be useful such as the ones on business,communications, or military intelligence.  The Gale databases have some overlap but it might be useful to try several different ones.

Tips for Searching Google Scholar

Don't worry about spelling capitalization or punctuation.

Use quotes to search for an exact word or phrase. 

Spaces default to AND so if you want OR you must type OR, use all caps.

Here is the Google Scholar Search box.  using the drop down arrow highlighted below, you can do an advanced search.

Here is the Google Scholar advanced search box:


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Ruth Smith
Library Director, Valencia College
1800 S. Kirkman Rd. 4-4
Orlando, FL 32811

Valencia Library Tutorials

The Valencia Library has tutorials to help with:

evaluating websites (tip sheet)

information literacy (to help you define your information need, assess the source, and use the information)

plagiarism (copying another's work or borrowing someone else's original ideas)  Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources.

citation (style guides and tips for proper citation).


Ask a Librarian



Ask a Librarian is a free online service that allows Florida residents to chat or text with a librarian for immediate assistance from 10am until midnight ET Sunday thru Thursday and from 10am until 5pm ET Friday and Saturday. A trained information professional can guide you to the answers you need in minutes rather than your wasting hours navigating hundreds of unhelpful and irrelevant web sites. More than 100 libraries statewide collaborate to provide this service to their patrons and the patrons of other participating libraries. In addition, you can also email your local library’s staff.


The Valencia College libraries do not welcome solicitation of resources to be added to our LibGuides. This includes but is not limited to vendors, search engine optimizers, placement of ads, products, or any other requests. Our LibGuides are carefully curated resources developed in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to support specific assignments, courses, events, and other related purposes at Valencia College. The Valencia libraries reserve the right to ignore LibGuide resource solicitations, and/or block persistent requests from groups or individuals to add or promote links in our LibGuides.