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ENGL 100 (Homer): Home

Research Assignment

What is a scholarly journal?

Instructors may ask you to use research from scholarly or "academic" journals. Articles in these journals are written by the researchers themselves and present in-depth, original research in a specific field of study. These articles have been reviewed by other scholars to ensure their validity and quality. This is why they are also called "peer-reviewed."

Scholarly articles differ from more popular articles available in magazines and newspapers. If you are unsure whether a publication is popular or scholarly, click the link below:

Pre-Search before you Research!

  1. Write your subject/topic down
  2. Circle the main terms/ideas
  3. Brainstorm additional or related terms/ideas for your main terms
  • Consider forms: elder, elders, elderly, . . . 

  • Consider synonyms: aged, senior citizens, seniors, . . .  

  • Consider related terms: elder abuse, elder affairs, senior services, aging services, Office of Aging,  . . . 

Define topic"--> "Brainstorm search terms"--> "Do search"--> "Record new terms"

Issue Example : Thousands of water systems nationwide, such as that in Flint, Michigan, have failed to meet federal safety standards for lead and other harmful substances.

Keywords are key to a productive search!

water "water supply" "water infrastructure" "water pollution"
United States USA nation* Flint
harmful failed unsafe toxic
improve* solve change fix

Tips from the Librarian

Getting Started:

  • Consider whether you need books, images, articles from journals
  • Choose the right database(s) for your topic
  • Off-campus? Use SURF ID & SURF Password

Books, Ebooks

  • Use the library catalog to find books, e-books on your topic
  • Remember your pre-search keywords (aka "controlled vocabulary")

Finding Articles & more...

  • Remember to combine keywords using AND and put simple phrases in"double quotation marks" to help focus your search results.
  • "sugar-sweetened beverages" and obesity

Start by finding background information:

The databases below may be useful for researching your ENGL 100 Research paper topics. 

EBSCOhost (search all) - All EBSCOhost databases for a variety of articles.

Opposing Viewpoints - Controversial issues, viewpoints, news, and journals.

CQ Researcher - Current events and hot topics

Global Issues in Context

JSTOR (all scholarly journals)

Lexis Nexis Academic - legal and business news.

eBook Collection (Ebscohost)

Literature Resource Center - Literature resources and criticism

Literature Criticism Online - Criticism articles on various types of literature

Search Google Smarter!

Google's site command will narrow your search results to specific types of websites. Just type site:[domain name] after your keywords.

  1.  Government site:gov
  2.  Organization site:org
  3.  Educational site:edu

Example: "water infrastructure" and flint site:.gov

Evaluate the Web

1. Who wrote the page? Are they qualified?

2. Is the info accurate?

3. Is the info biased? Are they selling something?

4. Is the info current?

5. Is the info supported? cited? bibliography?