ENGLISH R1B: Free Speech & You

How to use this tab

This course guide is created as a teaching tool and designed to be read as a unit. Doing so will provide the context for selecting the "right" resource and the techniques for manipulating it -- knowledge and skills that will support immediate and future research needs.

The notes in this tab contain suggestions about how to proceed with research based on your assignment. These suggestions build upon, and presume familiarity with, the general concepts addressed in the other tabbed sections of this course guide.

A research trajectory

  1. Decide text/topic you are interested in writing about -- at least preliminarily.

  2. Review suggested resources section, below, and the tool descriptions in the Resources tab.

  3. Select a resource based on the kind of materials you are seeking to find.

  4. For scholarly article/essay content, when selecting a resource, consider which disciplinary focus maps to your topic (meaning publications in that field are likely to be writing about it).  Or...choose an interdisciplinary database.

  5. Search selected resources to see what others have written on your topic, or what others are writing about that might suggest further topical focus.

  6. Isolate promising database results to examine closely.

    Good practice:
    as you go, note any information you may need if you end up citing your findings.

Suggested resources


  • find books on your topic
  • find the periodicals (scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers) you've already identified as having articles on your topic
  • find encyclopedias to get background information

Article databases (by SUBJECT)

  • identify article and essay content on your topic
  • identify current research
  • identify research focused on an aspect of a topic
  • search for publications from a specific discipline
    • history, literature, film studies, womens studies, etc.

Article databases (GENERAL)

  • interdisciplinary
  • often have popular sources (magazine & news) as well scholarly
  • Academic Search Complete is one recommended resource
    • popular and scholarly content (good for popular culture topics)
    • some results available online
    • has UC-eLinks feature
  • Google Scholar is one recommended resource
    • strength is scholarly journal literature
    • Use UC-eLinks to get full text
    • Enable UC-eLinks to display (use Scholar Preferences > Library links)
  • JSTOR is one recommended database
    • scholarly journals
    • full text resource
    • use advanced search mode (to narrow to specific discipline)

News databases

  • access path = Library homepage > Electronic resources > By type> News Databases
  • review description : alternative or mainstream press, historical time period, geographical focus, etc.
  • Access World News is a full text news database
    • over 600 U.S. and over 700 international sources
    • can search by geographical location
    • source list provides inventory of titles included and dates covered
  • AltPress Watch is another full text resource
    • Alternative, radical, and independent magazines, newspapers, and journals in North America

Encyclopedias (subject encyclopedias)

  • background on topic | biographical information on practitioner in field
  • link via Library homepage > Electronic Resources > Subject > review sidebar menu to see if there is a link to encyclopedias for that subject area

A few search tips

  • Recommended Tips for searching databases (also consider limiting by language)
  • Catalog searching

    • materials about a topic

      • search 2 or 3 terms representing key concepts of your focus
      • try different combinations of term, synonyms, related terms
      • look at the record for a relevant result -- do its subjects suggest other search terms
      • try adding terms for specific types of materials:  encyclopedias, biographies...

        Sample keyword searches...

        obsessive-compulsive disorder
        compulsive behavior
        france and history and class
        capitalism and material*
        eugene o'neill and biograph*

    • author search

      • person's name - finds books by, interviews with, correspondence...
      • organization's name - finds materials by agency, government body...

    • limit by language - use modify search button
    • limit by material type - change default search of Entire Collection
      to seach by type -- i.e. Films/Videos, Journals/Magazines/Newspapers...
    • if your search is too broad - use Modify button for available limits
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Last Update: June 08, 2011 15:26