Brady ENG 113

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Background Information

Getting some background information before you start researching will help you focus your topic and give you an idea of what to look for in your search. Here are some Reference Databases you can use to get a basic understanding of your topic.

Gale Virtual Reference Library: Over 100 encyclopedias, almanacs, and other reference sources.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context: Features viewpoint articles, and topic overviews on controversial topics.

Keyword Brainstorming

Before you start your research, brainstorm some broader, narrower and/or related keywords to help with your research. These keywords can come from your own knowledge of your topic or from searching background information.

My proposal: Filtering the information we get online makes it easier than ever to miss out on information we choose not to see, making it more important than ever that students learn critical thinking skills and web evaluation in school in order to understand where online information is coming from.

Main Keyword 1 Main Keyword 2 Main Keyword 3
filtering online critical thinking
cocooning internet web evaluation
filter bubble search engines information literacy


Using AND & OR in a Database

Databases search differently than most search engines. Once you've brainstormed your keywords, you can use the words AND & OR to manipulate your search. Here is an example from the General OneFile database:

Image of a screenshot of three search boxes in the Academic Search Elite database. The top search box shows the keywords "'online filtering' or 'filter bubble'", separated by a drop-down menu with the word And selected. The second search box shows "'critical thinking' or 'web evaluation'", separated by a drop-down with And selected and the third box shows the keywords "students or university".

Remember- AND narrows your search while OR broadens it. Think of it like a Venn Diagram:

Venn diagram showing two overlapping circles with overlap highlighted Venn diagram showing two ovelapping circles where both circles are entirely highlighted
Returns results with all of your keywords Returns results with any of your keywords


Find Articles in Databases

General/Multi-Subject Databases: These will bring back results from different disciplines and sources

General OneFile
Academic Search Elite

Subject Databases: These will bring back results from a specific discipline:

Sociological Abstracts: Articles and book chapters in the field of sociology

PsycINFO: Articles and book chapters in the field of psychology

Business Source Elite: Scholarly articles on business topics, including marketing and advertising

If you need an article or book that we don't have, we can order it from another library through Interlibrary Loan.

Get Help

Your instructor:
Anna Fidgeon

English Librarian:
Kimberly Embleton

Ask A Librarian: Get help by text, e-mail, phone or in-person
Online How-To Guides and Tutorials

Writing Sources

Citing Your Sources: Get help with MLA Style Citations

The Writing Center: Make an appointment with a writing consultant to help with all stages of writing your paper.

Plagiarism Explained

Find Sources Using the Library's OneSearch Tool

Visit the OneSearch FAQ to learn all about how to use the library's new online OneSearch tool to find articles, books and more. Or, watch the How to Use OneSearch video:

What is a Scholarly Article?

Unsure about what it means when an article is scholarly? This video will explain:

Evaluating Websites

If you are using a website as a source for your paper, make sure it is a reliable source. Don't know what that means? Ask yourself these questions to determine if the website is authoritative, unbiased, current, and accurate:

 Who is the author and what makes she or he qualified to write on this topic? Who is publishing/hosting this site and are they reputable? Unbiased: Does the author or publisher have a financial or ideological stake in presenting only certain facts? What is the purpose of this site? Current: When was this information published or last updated? Could there be newer information? Accurate: Where is the author getting his/her information from? Can you verify the information in another source?

This video will explain more:


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