Academic Pathways to Excellence (APEX)

This guide is developed for students in the Academic Pathways to Excellence (APEX) Program. It is intended as a Library resource gateway to introduce you to the Wayne State University Library System, its services and resources.

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Reference Desks

Undergraduate (UGL): 313-577-8852
Purdy/Kresge: 313-577-6423
Arthur Neef Law: 313-577-6180
Shiffman Medical: 313-577-1094

What You Need to Know to Succeed

As you enter your university career you will find that your professors will require credible, scholarly sources for your course assignments. To become an effective researcher you will want to learn how to locate these types of sources by using QuickSearch to browse the library for resources, Summon and Article Databases to find articles and the Catalog to find books.

You will also need to understand the difference between popular and scholarly sources, and how to cite your sources using citation styles like MLA, APA and Chicago style.

Getting to know the libraries and how to use their information resources and services will help you become an effective researcher.

Catalog Search: Find books, ebooks, DVDs, publications and more

Some people like to use the library Catalog to find books, ebooks, the titles of scholarly journals and magazine, and other resources in the library's collections.

You cannot use the library catalog to find articles.

Scholarly Versus Popular Articles

There are some distinct differences between the visual and content characteristics of articles from scholarly and popular publications. This video illustrates those differences. 

Scholarly articles:

  • have the authors name and credentials listed at the beginning of the article.
  • usually have a short abstract at the beginning, which describes the information in the article
  • uses charts, graphs or formal graphics to illustrate the information
  • uses specialized language 
  • has a lengthy list of references at the end

Popular articles:

  • are usually written by paid journalists. 
  • are colorfully illustrated with pictures or graphics
  • use general language everyone can understand


What is Peer Review?

Articles that are published in scholarly journals are written by experts in that field, discipline or profession. These authors are not paid by the publication, instead, their articles go through a process called peer review. This is a highly selective process which is intended to ensure articles are unbiased and credible. 

Library Database Searching

Deep Web

Image from University of California San Diego Library 


Why we use library databases

A library database is a collection of resources. They may contain articles from scholarly journals and popular magazines, book chapters, reports and even videos, audio and other multimedia. Most materials in library databases are resources you would have to pay for if you just used Google. The library pays to license access to these materials. 

Information in library databases is also structured. That means you can search more efficiently, because specific types of information, like the author, or title of a publication, are always in the same place. They use a consistent set of labels, that function like hashtags, so you can find related ideas and information quickly.

Databases also have tools, which let you email articles, or download them or even generate a citation right there.

Summon: Search for full text articles, books, ebooks

Searching Summon

Summon is a library discovery system. It lets you search almost all of the library's full-text article databases, books, ebooks and other materials all at once. You can use Summon to discover and connect to the library's information resources available on a topic.

Select SUMMON at the top of this page to get to the Summon search box.

Research Guides

Library Research Guides

Library Research Guides have been developed by Librarians. They bring together the best library databases and internet resources for all of the different majors, minors, departments and programs you will find at Wayne State University.

Starting at a Research Guide can save you time, because you can easily find the resources you need to do research for a specific discipline or area of study.

Each Canvas course site has a library resources link in the navigation menu, which leads you directly to the research guide for that particular course or discipline. For example, the APEX Canvas course site takes you to this guide.