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Assignment | Pop Culture Argument Papers (Hirsch): Finding Your Research

Spring 2019 | ENGL 1302 | Prof. Amy Hirsch

Before You Research

Scholarly articles are not the place to start your research. First, you need to get familiar enough with your topic to narrow it down, and for that you need more general information. This will help you develop context for your topic as well as get to know the specialized terms used by experts.

Suggested Databases

Be sure to read the descriptions and make note of your search options within each database: not all content in all databases is scholarly!

Other multi-disciplinary databases:

These are a little more advanced and exclusively scholarly. Get a feel for your search terms in Academic Search Complete first before trying these out. JSTOR in particular can be a little tough to narrow down.

Recommended non-scholarly:

Other Databases

Exactly which databases you look at will depend on your topic as well as what information you're trying to find. These are some more potentially useful resources.

More Tips

Learn more about advanced search in databases.

Article types: see how to spot whether you're looking at a research paper (which you do not want) or something else.

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.

What's a Database?

illustration of a question mark on fire (burning question)Psst -- what's a database?

In its most basic sense, a database Access only available off-campus with a 14-digit library barcode from LSCS is just a selection of information designed for you to search and retrieve stuff from it. Amazon is a database you're probably familiar with: it's limited (only contains things you can buy through them) and retrievable (you can search and filter your results to find what you're looking for).

The library databases contain reputable, reliable sources of information to support researchers like you! This means everything from digital encyclopedias (like Credo), ebooks, scholarly journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, streaming videos, statistics, and more.

Evaluating Information

CRAAP test factors: Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, Purpose

The Three Rs

Is your source
Recent? Reliable? Relevant?

Is this source up-to-date? Is it about my topic, and does it go into enough depth? Does it come from an authoritative source? Is the information accurate (and are there citations given to back it up)? And why was this information written in the first place?