ENGL 102 (All)
In a typical library instruction session, English 102 students can expect to learn where to find different types of information, how to find and develop keywords about a topic, and how to search databases.
- Library website: library.clark.edu
- Access databases from off campus, through the library website. Log in with your name and student ID number when prompted.
- Find this handout on the library website: Find → Class Guides → ENGL 102 (All)
- Citing Sources: MLA citation examples
Navigate the Research Process
Although research is not necessarily a linear process, there are some specific steps that make the process easier.
Step 1: Choose a topic
Sometimes, choosing a topic can be the hardest part of the research process! Start by thinking about ideas that are interesting to you. It is okay to have more than one topic idea at first, as you may need to do background research on two or three before you settle on a topic that you like.
Learn more about Choosing topics: IRIS: Choose and Explore Topics
Step 2: Recognize where to find different types of information
Once you choose a topic, think about the best places to search for more information about it. The following IRIS tutorials can help you learn about different places to search for information:
- The Web : A good place to start!
- Subject Encyclopedias : Explore and collect background information.
- Library Catalogs: Search here for books and more.
- Library Databases (Periodical indexes) Search here for articles and more.
- Learn more about different Types of Information.
Step 3: Identify keywords
As you begin to search the Web and other places for information about your topic, write down keywords that you find about your topic. You can also brainstorm for keywords about your topic. Think about similar terms, broader terms, narrower terms, related terms, organizations or people.
Step 4: Develop Search Phrases
Using your keywords, begin writing search phrases using the following search techniques.
Boolean terms: OR (expands search) AND (narrows search)
Truncation/Wildcard: * or $ (expands search)
Quotation marks: "FDA" (narrows search)
Example Search Phrases:
hunger AND welfare
snacks OR fast food
"FDA" and diet* supplements
farm* and organic food
Learn more building search phrases in IRIS: Search Strategies and IRIS: Boolean Operators
Step 5: Use your search phrases to find articles in library databases
Try your search phrases in our library databases. Some good ones to try first:
- Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost)
- CQ Researcher
- Opposing Viewpoints
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
The above databases are general databases, which are useful when you first begin researching your topic. You will also want to explore subject databases, once you know more about your topic. You can find subject databases by going to:
Library Website --> Find → All Subjects → Choose a subject related to your topic.
For your English 102 paper, you will need to locate articles from academic, or research journals. Read Scholarly Journal Articles to learn how to identify them.
Find help and learn more
- Explore the library's How To Guides (Find --> How to...)
- Ask a Librarian, email, phone, and 24/7 chat
Worksheets for Practice
- Reference Books, Book Catalogs
- Search Strategy Worksheet
- Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost) worksheet
- ProQuest worksheet