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English 205: Library Research Skills

This guide has been archived and may have outdated information or broken links.

Types of sources

You'll probably be using several types of sources for your projects for this class. They can include books, websites, articles, personal interviews and more.


There are many different types of articles you can use. The following page explains the difference between magazines/newspapers, trade publications and academic/scholarly journals: http://library.csun.edu/Guides/ResearchStrategies/FindingArticles.


Use the Catalog to search for books the library owns. You can search for books by author's name, title of the book, subject heading and keyword. A keyword search is generally recommended when search for books on a particular topic, if you don't have specific titles in mind. Learn how to use the catalog here: http://library.csun.edu/Guides/LibraryCatalogSearchHelp.


Ask your professor if she will allow you to use Websites as sources for your research for this class. If the answer is yes, be sure you know how to properly evaluate the websites that you use. Because of the nature of the Internet, not all the information you find will be reliable. Learn how to distinguish between reliable websites and those you shouldn't use: http://library.csun.edu/Guides/ResearchStrategies/EvaluatingLibraryResources.

When using google, try the Advanced Search function. It allows you to search a particular domain, such as .gov, to refine your search.

Citation Formatting Tools

Citation managers are software that keep track of your sources and automatically format your citations in a variety of styles.

  • EndNote Web - free to CSUN students, staff, and faculty; integrates with MS Word and any browser; can export references directly from many databases
  • Zotero - free to anyone; integrates with MS Word and/or Google Docs; must be installed on your own computer 

MLA Style