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Leadership Studies Research

LS 115: Exploring Elements of Leadership

This landing page is provided to supplement information for the LS 115: Exploring Elements of Leadership course. For this class, you will need to locate information that helps your groups explain a leadership theory and give specific examples to showcase the theory at work.  This means not only being able to differentiate the types of information but, also, recognizing where to go to get the type you need. In addition, you'll need to go on to use that information in smart and ethical ways.

Because the study of Leadership is inherently interdisciplinary, you may have a tried and true research toolkit that you've fostered in your major courses. Feel free to rely on the skills you're mastering in those courses to inform your work for this project. If you have a database you already rely on, try it out! If you have a LibGuide from another librarian that you have found particularly helpful to you, use it. My job as the liaison librarian to leadership is not to remove tools from your toolkit, but instead to help you add more choices to your collection.

LS 115: A workshop

What do you need?

Needing research for an assignment is a common need on a college campus. What actual information you desire, however, is often determined by the assignment requirements from your professor. For this assignment, you are looking for scholarly sources that do two different things. One of the foundational development of the article. The second on an application of the theory to a particular context.

Where do you find information that fulfills that need?

This assignment wants you to engage with the scholarly conversation surrounding your theory. Your theory did not come about in a bubble. The disciplines of the folks who formed the theory informed the development and critique of it. Through time the theory has informed the practice of leadership in a multitude of contexts. This likely makes sense to you, but how do you go about finding articles that examine the development of the theory and not just the same oversimplified version of the theory textbooks often offer us (think of your Komives reading)?

Use your textbook and reference sources to find foundational articles

Komives cites many of the theorists responsible for the development of your theory. Consider the writing of your theory in this textbook to be an overview source that piques your interest. How do you find out more?

Use Google Scholar to find ways the theory has been applied

One of the best things about Google Scholar is the way it can help you follow the scholarly conversation forward from an originating article. Using the "Cited by" link you can find how the theory is being applied in a variety of contexts. 

Workshop together (and get help)!

We have two different sections of this class this term, be sure to choose the document that includes both your professor's name as well as your theory name. Some sections have multiple groups with the same theory, be sure you're with your group members.


Tieg Torres

Wikipedia: A great pre-research source

Wikipedia logo

Wikipedia is GREAT! And contrary to what folks may have told you, the review process is more thorough than much that is published on the open web. The reason I tell students not to cite Wikipedia in their scholarly writing is not that it's flawed, but because it is an overview or reference source and that is not the need those types of sources fulfill. Encyclopedias like Wikipedia are excellent for doing pre-research. Use them correctly, and they can be a fantastic tool in your toolkit.

Google Scholar (Advanced)

Google Scholar (Advanced)

Google Scholar appeals to lots of folks because it is a free web search engine that appeals to our love of a Google Search. Instead of the entire open web, however, Google Scholar indexes only the scholarly literature portion of Google. This can include peer-reviewed articles, conference papers, theses and dissertations, and more. 

  • Google Scholar results often lead you to a great abstract that you cannot access without payment. The number of times this happens can be limited if you link your Google Scholar account to your Vogel Library access [see video below for directions]. If even the Library Links can't get you the article you need, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan. Contact me anytime to help you do so!
  • Google Scholar results seem to prioritize older articles. This is because they sort their relevant results based on the popularity of both the publication in which the source appears and the author of the source. This can limit you from seeing new scholars or scholars who may be more marginalized in their fields. Remember, while peer review is considered a pretty effective system, it's still shaped by the culture in which it exists, and at this time, some voices hold more weight in academic circles than others.
  • Searching Google Scholar feels a lot like searching Google, which appeals to our everyday behavior of information searching.
  • The advanced search functionality and the "cited by" option provide options many paid databases do not provide.

Annotated Bibliography

What exactly is an annotation?

What does it exist?

  • AnNOT[E]ation--A note that comments on the source

What is the point?

  • To show you've read it, understand it, analyzed it, and applied it.
  • In a group project, these annotations help your group members see how your article fits into the larger project.

What are its parts?

Typically four parts, but always confirm your professor's requirements for the assignment.

  • Complete citation (use format required by the course)
  • Summarize: What was it about, and what were the conclusions?
  • Assess: The quality and usefulness of the source
  • Reflect: How the information contributes to your own research

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