English 155

Doug Weaver

The following resources are designed to support English 155 students with finding credible sources for an argumentative essay.

Overview of the Research Process

As you begin your research, consider taking the following steps.

1. Create a research question or statement; an example could be:

  • Topic 1: Same sex marriage should be allowed
  • Topic 2: Drugs should be legalized in the United States

2. Create a list of search terms (also known as keywords) that will assist you in finding information about your question or statement

  • Topic 1: same sex marriage, laws, legislation, rights, freedom, antidiscrimination, equality
  • Topic 2: drugs, legalization, laws, United States, decriminalization, recreational use

3. Identify the types of periodicals and other sources you need for the assignment (number of books or articles from library subscription databases)

4. Select and search in the library catalog for books and appropriate subscription databases for articles

5. Cite your sources in MLA Citation Style

Developing a Thesis

Guide from The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. This website may be useful to refer to when you are creating a research question or statement.

Searching in the Library Catalog

Searching the library catalog for books can be a good place to start.

How to use the Library Catalog

  • Using your list of search terms, search the Oviatt Library Catalog for books
    1. Keyword vs. Subject search. These two things sound the same but work differently when you are searching, so be sure to try both.
    2. Title or author search if you know exactly what book you need.
    3. Write down the location and call number (the call number serves as an address, it tells you where the book is located in the library).
  • Finding Books in the library - reading a call number

Database Searching Tips

Searching for information in the library databases works differently than searching for information on the Internet. When searching in library databases, sentences can not be entered in the search box(es). (You will get very poor results, if any.) Instead, library databases require users to enter search terms with the Boolean operators - "AND," "OR," "NOT" connecting each search term/keyword. See the library's Boolean Searching page for a more detailed description and other helpful information.

Searching for Articles Through Databases at the Oviatt Library

The following databases may be useful when searching for information to support an argumentative essay. You will need your campus User ID and Password to enter these databases if you are not in the library. (This is the same User ID and Password you use to access the portal and your CSUN email account.)

Gale Powersearch (Thomson) - Provides cross-searching of multiple Gale databases: General OneFile, Expanded Academic ASAP, General Reference Center Gold, Health Reference Center Academic, Gale Virtual Reference Library, Business and Company ASAP, and Opposing Viewpoints in Context. May limit to full-text search, within a date range and editorials.

Proquest Newspapers - Offers full-text access to over 600 US and international newspapers, hundreds of other news wires and news sources; dates vary. May select specific newspapers to search, within a date range and editorials.

Opposing ViewPoints in Context - Provides full-text database that includes magazines, journals and newspapers of the minority, ethnic and native press in the United States. Provides an alternative perspective to mainstream media.

CQ Researcher - Examines a single "hot" issue in the news each week offering full-text access. Topics include political, social, environmental, technological as well as health and education to name a few.

Academic Search Elite (EBSCO) - Offers full-text articles from journals and magazines, may limit to full-text search, within a date range and editorials.

General OneFile (Gale) - Includes Expanded Academic. Full-text articles from journals and magazines, may limit to only search full-text, within a date range and editorials.

LexisNexis Academic - Provides a variety of information including newspaper and journal articles, law reviews, case law and more, dates vary.

You may want to explore other databases under the Gender and Women's studies link at our Find Articles by Subject page.

Evaluating Websites

You will want to evaluate carefully all Internet resources you use to support your argument. The Oviatt Library provides information within its Research Strategies pages to assist in effective evaluation.

Citation and Evaluation Guides

Reference Services and Library Hours

Ask A Librarian - get your questions answered here 24/7 or contact me at coleen.martin@csun.edu

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