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ENG — Summer Bridge Program

ATTENTION: This research guide was last modified on July 07, 2010, before the January 2012 redesign of the library's home page. Information on how to access journal articles, databases, and other library resources may be inaccurate or outdated.

For up-to-date instructions on accessing materials, please visit our tutorial pages instead.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Contact Information

Carol Dales


Where to Start an Assignment

Borrowing Books

Locating Books

Locating Journal Articles:


Finding Journal Articles

Off-campus Access

Search Tips

Scholarly Internet Research

Citing your Sources

Where to Start an Assignment
  • Begin your research on the CSUDH Library home page.
  • For most essay assignments, plan to investigate three basic types of information:
  1. Books
  2. Articles from journals, magazines and newspapers
  3. Websites

Borrowing Books
  • To borrow books, you will need your CSUDH photo ID with a current sticker.
  • Before borrowing books, read the regulations on the Circulation /Borrowing Books page.

Locating Books

Use ToroFind Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC). Use either your own keywords or ask librarians to help you with Library of Congress Subject Headings to look for books on your topic (university libraries use LC Subject Headings to describe the contents of books and other materials listed in the library catalog).

For instance:

  • Mythology - Encyclopedias
  • Mass media - United States
  • Artists - Dictionaries
  • Same sex marriage - United States

Ask Library Reference staff if you're not sure what to look under for books on your topic!

Locating Journal Articles:

To find journal articles on a particular topic, use a special index called an electronic database.

Terms you should know before you search in electronic databases:

  • DATABASE : an organized collection of information, especially electronic information.
  • JOURNAL (also called SCHOLARLY JOURNAL): scholarly publication published for an academic audience; narrow focus, deeply researched, all articles approved before publication by a group of experts working in the same field as the author (this approval process is called peer review)
  • MAGAZINE: publication with popular interest articles and broad subject coverage
  • CITATION: the basic information you need to find or cite the full text of an article; includes article title, author's name, name of publication, date, volume & issue no. and page numbers.
  • ABSTRACT : a brief summary of the main content of an article
  • FULL TEXT : the complete article

  • Academic Search Premier : indexing, abstracts and high percentage of full text articles from journals in social sciences, humanities, education, arts & literature, and ethnic studies.
  • Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature : indexing, abstracts and high percentage of full text articles from popular publications (Time Magazine, National Geographic) as well as several scholarly ones such as Science.
  • Oxford Art Online: online access to the entire text (34 volumes) of The Dictionary of Art , (1996) and The Oxford Companion to Western Art , (2001).
  • ProQuest Newspapers : searches the full-text of over 500 national and international newspapers written in English, including Los Angeles Times and New York Times.
  • CQ Researcher Online : objective and balanced treatment of current issues and hot topics; each 12,000-word report by an experienced journalist examines all sides of an issue and includes charts, graphs, sidebar articles as well as a chronology, extensive bibliography and a list of contacts. 

Finding Journal Articles

You can get journal articles by going to the library home page and clicking the Journal Articles & Electronic Resources link under the "Find Journal Articles Now" heading.

  • If you know which database you want to use (e.g. Academic Search Premier),
        put your cursor over the letter of the alphabet it begins with, click, and move down
        to click on the database title.


    • On the LH side of the screen, click the heading that sounds the most like your situation:

                   --If you only know what subject you're looking for (e.g. Art), click By subject.

                   --If you're looking for an article from a specific journal or magazine (e.g. Psychology
                     Today), click Search Journals.

                   --If you aren't sure where to start, try this link for a tutorial.

    Once you are in a database, you can start to search for your article. All database search options are slightly different, but they usually include several search boxes you can fill out.

    Articles that you can read in that database will have a link to the PDF full text or the HTML full text. Click on that text link to read the article. Some databases also let you e-mail yourself the files by clicking on an e-mail link.

    Some articles say "Find it @ CSUDH Lib" instead of providing links to the full text. This means the text of that article is not in the database you are searching.If you click the button that says this, you can see a list of databases that do have the full text. If there are no databases containing the article you want, you can request it via Inter-Library Loan.

  • Off-campus Access

    If you are using a computer on campus, you can access all of our online databases and ebooks without any further steps. Just click on the database name in the Database List and you will betaken immediately to the search screen.

    If you are off campus, you will need to log in using your username and password, the same information you use to log in to Blackboard, MyCSUDH and campus email. When you click on a database name from off-campus, you will see a screen asking you for this information.

    After you enter your  your username and password, you will be able to access any of our online databases and ebooks just as you would on campus.

    Search Tips

    Once you are successfully logged in to a journal index, read the instructions (Help screen) to figure out how the database works.

    To develop an effective search, look at your topic or research question and pull out the keywords. Then think of any synonyms for each of the keywords. For example: Do video games contribute to violent behavior in children?

    KEYWORDS video games violence children
    SYNONYMS gaming aggression youth

    Your search becomes: video games and violence and children

    • When doing a keyword search, try to find one article that is exactly what you need.
      Look at its subject terms (sometimes you have to click on the article title to see them) and re-do search with those index (subject/controlled vocabulary) terms:

        --If the journal article index has a Thesaurus or Subject Guide, 
           look there to find correct search terms for your topic.
    • Did you find too many articles?

                      -Use more specific search terms 
                      -Limit by language, publication, date, full text, peer reviewed.
                      -Use controlled vocabulary (look in the database subject guide
                        or thesaurus)
                      -Narrow your search with AND

    • Did you find too few articles? None? Out-of-context?

                    -Use different search terms, synonyms, alternate terms and phrases
                    -Check your spelling 
                    -Use truncation (child* = child, child's, children and other words 
                     that begin with child.)      
                    -Broaden your search by joining synonyms with OR
                    -Search a different journal index
                    -Ask for help!!!

    Scholarly Internet Research

    Not all web sites are created equal. Some sites can be valid sources of information, but others are filled with opinion represented as fact. While there isn't a 100% effective way to figure out what kind of site you're looking at, here are some guidelines to follow when using the internet for research:

    • Check Credibility - Is it easy to figure out who's behind the information? Does whoever it is know what they're talking about? Do they have qualifications in the field or is ther some other reason you can trust the author?
    • Check Accuracy - Are the sources cited correctly? Is the information up-to-date? Are there any broad, sweeping generalisations that are impossible to verify?
    • Check Reasonableness - What is the page's point-of-view? Is it a corporate page trying to sell you a product, or is it a government or educational site where the main purpose is to educate people?
    • Check Support - Is it possible to double-check the information in another location?

    Useful Scholarly Websites:

    INFOMINE is a virtual library of Internet resources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level. It contains useful Internet resources such as databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other types of information.

    The Librarians' Internet Index aims to provide a well-organized point of access for reliable, trustworthy, librarian-selected websites, serving California, the nation, and the world. All links on the Index are selected and approved by librarians before inclusion.

    For more information, check out our guide on Evaluating Web Resources.

    Citing your Sources

    What is plagiarism? - Plagiarism is "The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft." (OED)

    When you quote or paraphrase from somebody else's work without citing it, you are plagiarizing their work. Plagiarism is a serious matter, and could result in a lower or failing grade and even in your expulsion from university. Just rewording your work isn't enough to avoid plagiarism. Since you are still borrowing information heavily from another writer, you still need to include a citation.

    But I didn't know! - Ignorance of the law is unfortunately no excuse. You can commit plagiarism without meaning to, and it's just as serious a problem if you do.

    How can I avoid it? - You can avoid plagiarism by always citing (including full information about) your sources. Whenever you use a quotation or borrow information heavily from a source, be sure you include a citation in the proper citation style. This will let your professor know you aren't trying to pass the idea off as your own. Taking detailed notes on where you get your information helps a lot with this, since it prevents you from forgetting which is your own work and which is borrowed from others.

    For more information, see your student handbook and this handout by Sheela Pawar at CSUDH.

    Check with librarians at the Reference Desk for up-to-date guides on how to cite your sources, or try visiting websites that help you do this correctly: