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Assignment | Social Issue Essay (Pena): Research

ENGL 1302 | Prof. E. Pena | Spring 2020

What to Look For

Click the links on the table below to jump to the relevant part of this page to start finding research!

Types of sources, where to find them, and what benefit they bring to your research.
Source Type Where to Look When Do You Need It
Scholarly Journal Articles Library databases, Google Scholar Expert analysis; a thoughtful view of the current understanding in a field/discipline; reports of new research. Very focused, specific analysis that also connects to the big picture implications. However, also slower to publish.
News Stories Library databases, Internet Current events (or reports of old events that were once current). Anecdotal snapshots with some data or other context, but mostly not big picture.
Magazine Articles Library databases, Internet Usually like news stories but with more depth, as the individual articles tend to be longer.
Statistics/Data Internet, especially .gov domains Basic factual information to give you demographic information, or help you show impact (X number of Americans are disabled, Y number of homes flooded in 2017, etc). You apply the context.
Books Library databases, library catalog Lots of variety: some are scholarly and share characteristics with the journal articles, some are fluffier. Some go in-depth, some provide broad overviews of a subject. Depends on the book!

 

Suggested Databases from the Library

Scholarly:

News & Magazines:

Books:

Even More Databases:

Consider which disciplines apply to your specific topic when choosing your databases.

DatabasesResearch Databases (Main Page)

Databases (Searchable List)

Getting Better Results From Google

No random websitesResearch means more than just Googling some likely terms and picking something easy off the first page of results. Consider:

Besides keywords, there are an estimated 200 factors that affect Google's page rankings, including:

  • sites paying to promote their pages,
  • what computer and browser you're using,
  • when the site was last updated,
  • how the site is structured,
  • what other people have clicked on or linked to,
  • and even what kind of pages you've searched for in the past.

Notice that "accuracy" or "reliability" don't make the list.

You can streamline the quality of your Google searches by focusing on government (.gov) and education (.edu) domains in your results.

  • .gov is the most strict to register -- non-government entities can't get it!
  • .edu is mostly universities, but you'll sometimes come across some K-12 entities with this domain.
    • The big thing to watch out for is that you're not finding a student paper or project that's been posted on the university domain. Presumably their work is pretty good since it's being shown off publicly, but undergrads are not yet academic experts in their fields (sorry).

Google has some advanced search commands to make this quicker. Just add site:___ to your search! E.g. site:nasa.gov or even just site:.edu. Try it below!

Google Web Search

Accessing the Databases

Access 100+ databases organized by subject area from the Research Databases page. Also try our dynamic, sortable database list!

Student ID BadgeTo access the databases locked icon (same icon that displays by the LSC-limited access resources) from off-campus, you must provide the 14-digit library barcode.

Don't have one yet? Request a barcode number online.

Finding Books


LSC Library Catalog

  • Request print books and physical items from LSC Libraries, Harris County & Montgomery County Public Libraries.
  • Items will be delivered to your campus.
  • Search by keyword, author, title, ISBN, and more.