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ENGL 102 - Composition II: Find Articles

Where to Search

The best place to start searching is usually the main search box on the library's homepage.

the Library's main search box

The main search box provides access to books, periodicals, scholarly (peer reviewed) academic journal articles, ebooks, media, and credible online resources--all with one simple search. Entering a few keywords in this box will automatically search over 65 separate databases, each of which includes material from literally thousands of different sources.

There are a few special databases, though, that are particularly helpful to students in first-year composition classes. These databases are online collections of the types of articles that most professors want students to use in their ENGL 099, ENGL 101, and ENGL 102 research papers. These databases also categorize their content according to certain subject areas that are frequently written about by students in those classes.

What is a scholarly source?

Instructors often ask students to find “scholarly”, “academic”, or “peer reviewed” sources of information for their research.  These terms all refer to the same type of information – sources based on in-depth research, and are considered higher in quality and more reliable for your research. 

These sources can range from chapters within books or entire books, or journal articles, but all have common characteristics that can help you recognize that type of information.

  • Produced by experts or researchers in a specialized field or discipline.
  • Purpose is to present new or unpublished research.
  • Articles reviewed by experts for scholarly content or quality, or peer reviewed
  • Written using formal language and structure: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, possibly footnotes, endnotes and/or bibliography.
  • May include tables or graphs to support research.

Database Search Tips

  • Select Peer-Reviewed to limit you search to only articles published in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Select Full-Text to see only articles you can read immediately.
  • If the full text of an article isn't available, you can request it for free through InterLibrary Loan (ILLIAD). Articles usually take 24-48 hours to arrive, and are sent to you by email.
  • When you have found an article that is close to what you are looking for, look at the subject headings. Try searching these terms to find relevant articles.
  • Look at the references/citations at the end of an article to find more articles on your topic.