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ENG 111 — Freshman Composition II - Spring '12 - Armstrong

Contact Information

Vivian Linderman


The Library Homepage

Finding Books & Current Journals & The Check-out Process

Finding Journal Articles Online

Recommended Databases

Scholarly Internet Research


MLA Citation Style

General Research Tips

Important Definitions

The Library Homepage

Start your research by going to the University Library Homepage.


  • The SEARCH BOX - Start your search for books and e-books here. Use the tabs at the top to search for books and articles put on reserve by your professors, to access the online databases and more.
  • ARTICLES, E-BOOKS & ONLINE SCHOLARLY RESOURCES- These links will take you to pages which will help you to efficiently use University Library resources.
  • REQUEST MATERIALS FROM OTHER LIBRARIES - If the book or article you would like is not available at CSUDH, you can find it at other libraries and request it through the Inter-library Loan (ILL) process.
  • RESEARCH & SCHOLARLY ASSISTANCE - These links will guide you through the research process and connect you to the Reference Department for research assistance.
  • LIBRARY SERVICES & INFORMATION - Find your way, renew books and access other information about the Library and its services from these links.
  • LIBRARY AFFILIATES - links to other programs within the Library.


The top menu bar provides drop down lists to resources found within the University Library web site and provides links to the Library's Twitter feed, Facebook page and other social media activities.


Here you will find links to Library Hours, Library Announcements and Quick Links to renew books online and email a librarian for research assistance.

Finding Books & Current Journals & The Check-out Process

To find a book or journal in the University Library use the maroon colored SEARCH BOX on the homepage.  Search by keyword, title, author, subject, ISBN/ISSN number or call number with the drop down selections and then put in your search term/s in the search bar on the right.  Results will be books or journals in our collection, including electronic books which can be read online.  When you click on a book or journal of interest, a page will appear which will provide a more detailed record of the book/journal. This record will include the location of the book in the Library, its status (available, checked out, lost, etc.) and subject terms. Quite often it will also include the table of contents and a summary. How to Use the Torofind Online Catalog is a more in-depth guide on how to search the catalog and how books and journals are organized in the Library.

To find a book on the shelves read about our Shelving Locations.


To access the e-book you have selected, click the link below the title of the book.  Some of the e-book databases allow you to create an account.  If you do, you will be able to save the book to your bookshelf, highlight text and keep notes on what you are reading. Every time you login to the database the books will appear on your bookshelf, just as you left them.

Reserve Books

If your professor has put a book on reserve, to be shared by the class, you can find this book by using the 2nd tab of the SEARCH BOX, COURSE RESERVES. Use the drop down fields to select either Course Number or Professor's Name, enter the corresponding search term and hit Search. The record will show you the status of the book (on the shelf, checked out, etc.). To retrieve the book from the Reserve Desk (which is located on the 2nd floor, east of the entrance to the Library) print out this record and take it to the Reserve Desk.

Checking Out Books

If there are books you would like to check out, bring them to the Circulation Counter located at the Library entrance; most of the journal collection is for Library use only. You will need a valid student ID card or a notification from Admissions & Records to check out books. Books are loaned for a period of 28 days; you may check out up to 30 books at a time. Read more about the Circulation Policies here.

If the library does not have the book you need, you can request it via Inter-Library Loan!

Finding Journal Articles Online

You can find online journal articles by following this search process:

  1. Determine your search terms. Brainstorm general keywords that describe your topic of interest and then think of synonyms for these terms that might appear in professional journals. For example: human rights = civil rights = abuse of rights. Violence = abuse. Unique, targeted keywords will bring up relevant sources more quickly.
  2. Start at the Library home page - Articles, e-Books, Online Scholarly Resources
  3. Click one of the headings that is appropriate for your research effort: Database by Subject, Database by Title, Frequently Used Databases or Journal by Title. A description of a few, select databases for this course is included below.
  4. Enter one or a few of your keywords into the database search field. Combining terms can help zero in on good results. Some databases allow this in the basic search screen, some will offer this option in the advanced search screen.
    • Use AND between terms to include both terms in the resulting articles; this will reduce the number of results you receive
    • Use OR between terms to expand the results to include either one term or the other
    • Use NOT to assure that results do not include a certain word
  5. It is now time to add Limiters to help narrow down the results. Each database has some sort of limitation feature that you can apply to your search. Try them out! Basic limiters include:
    • Selecting Scholarly or Peer Reviewed Journals
    • Changing the date range
    • Selecting the language
  6. If you find an article that is right in line with your research topic, look at the SUBJECT terms listed. Then, repeat the search using those subject terms as a subject field search. This will bring up similar articles.

When you find an article of interest you will have options to:

  • Open the PDF full-text format of the article (this is recommended as the PDF is the exact copy of how it appeared in the journal, thus showing tables, graphs, images and page numbers).
  • Open the HTML full-text format of the document; or
  • Find the document at CSUDH (the document is not in the database you are searching, but is available in another CSUDH database; just follow the links to get to it).
  • If the article is not available at CSUDH, you can request it through Inter-Library Loan. It takes about a week to receive it once your request is submitted. You might also choose to ask a librarian if it can be found elsewhere; sometimes we can work a little magic :).

Most databases also allow you to email the article or save it into a folder so you can easily go back to it. To create your own folder within the database you need to establish an account by creating a user login and password. If you intend to study this topic again, it is recommended that you create your own account so you don't have to repeat the research process. A number of databases also provide the format for basic citation styles. Be sure to look for these options before you move on to other results.

If all this is too overwhelming and you still aren't sure where to start or how to continue, try working through this comprehensive guide on How to Find an Article, schedule a research appointment with a librarian or contact me at vlinderman@csudh.edu or 310-243-2308 for further assistance.

Recommended Databases

Library Databases

This is a multi-subject, general database providing full-text for more than 4,600 journals, including full-text for more than 3,900 peer-reviewed titles.

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA: an authoritative general encyclopedia with full-text, cross-linked articles; includes a reliable dictionary and thesaurus and much more.

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.

More than 1700 periodicals within Psychology are included in this database. Not all that you find will be full-text. The database also includes citations to journal articles, article summaries, reports, book chapters, etc.

You can get to this site directly from this link above or through the Library homepage, Online Reference Shelf, US Government Information, US dot gov. Once on the web site put in your search term "human rights." A number of great government web sites on the topic will appear.


Full-text of 300+ U.S. and international news sources. Includes coverage of 150+ major U.S. and international newspapers such as The New York Times and the Times of London, plus hundreds of other news sources and news wires.

Scholarly Internet Research

If you decide to go out on the World Wide Web for information be aware that not all websites are created equally. Some sites are valid sources of information, such as government sites, but others are rife with opinion represented as fact. Then there are sites like Wikipedia which seem valid, however, there is no check and balance process to ensure that the information posted is correct. Wikipedia is great to introduce you to the general background on a subject. Often, the bibliography area can provide reliable resources to help you begin your research process. But, remember, Wikipedia is not a scholarly source for academic research.

In general, use the guidelines below to assess the authoritative value of a particular website:

  • Credibility - Is it easy to figure out who's behind the information? Do they have qualifications in the field or another reason to ensure the trustworthiness of the website?
  • Accuracy - Are the sources well cited? Is the information up-to-date? Are there broad, sweeping generalizations that are impossible to verify?
  • Reasonableness - What is the point-of-view of the website? Is it a corporate page trying to sell you a product? Is it a government or educational site where the main purpose is to educate people?
  • Support - Is it possible to verify the information from another authoritative source?

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

Useful Scholarly Websites

This site offers Internet resources selected by librarians at St. Ambrose University. Check out the reliable websites for hot paper topics.

An organization that advocates for Human Rights around the world. Use the Issues tab and select Human Rights Defense to read a variety of reports and press releases on the issue.

Read about human rights throughout the world on this extensive site hosted by the United Nations. Includes definition of human rights, reports on issues and international law and much, much more.

is a virtual library of Internet resources geared towards the university community. 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. Not all links are current or updated, however, and searching can be frustrating.

This site aims to provide a well-organized point of access for reliable, trustworthy websites. All links on the Index are selected and approved by librarians before inclusion.


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." (source: Oxford English Dictionary)

Instances of plagiarism include:

  • Quoting or paraphrasing someone's work in your paper without citing it
  • Expressing someone else's ideas as your own

Plagiarism is a serious matter and could result in a lower or failing grade and even expulsion from the University.

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.

How can I avoid it? - You can avoid plagiarism by giving credit where credit is due and always citing your sources. Whenever you insert a quotation, re-word information you got from a source or present an idea developed by someone else, be sure to include a citation in the proper style (MLA for this class). It is important to take detailed notes on where you are finding information for your paper as you find it.  This helps to ensure you will cite the information correctly as you begin writing your paper.  

Test your knowledge about plagiarism with this fun, online game, Goblin Threat, from Lycoming College. 

MLA Citation Style

This course requires that you use MLA style to cite your sources. This style of formatting and citation is usually used in the humanities and maintained by the Modern Language Association. Although there are online citation editors that will cite sources automatically, it is essential that you first understand how to do it on your own. These web sites are not always updated and can often be incorrect. If your professor is a stickler for correct citation usage, then he will notice the errors almost immediately.

We keep an MLA handbook at the Reference Desk if you need to take a look at it when preparing your citations and bibliography. Some examples of bibliography citations are below: 

Journal Article
Piper, Andrew.  "Rethinking the Print Object: Goethe and Book of Everything."
     PMLA 12.1 (2006): 124-38. Print.

Newspaper Article
Jeromack, Paul.  "This Once, a David of the Art World Does Goliath a Favor."
     New York Times 13 July 2002, late ed.: B7+ . Print.

Habord, Janet.  The Evolution of Film: Rethinking Film Studies. Cambridge:
     Polity, 2007. Print.

As you can see, each of these looks slightly different.  In general though, the format is similar.  Titles of books and journals are in italics, while book chapters or article titles are in quotes.  The hanging indent (the space on the second line of the citation) is an important feature to keep in mind.

The library has a more detailed tutorial on Citing Sources that you might want to take a look at.

Another excellent resource is the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). The OWL is a very popular resource that can experience technical problems during periods of high usage; so, be prepared and don't wait until the end of the semester to take a look at it.

General Research Tips
  1. Use multiple search terms and combine them using AND, OR and NOT.
  2. Try using synonyms for your search terms.
  3. Notice the Subject terms for the articles that meet your need and search on those terms.
  4. Use database limiters to reduce search results to those of high relevance
  5. Search in multiple databases; they are all different.
  6. If using information found on the Web, use only authoritative web sites.
  7. Keep track of your citations!
  8. Don't let yourself get frustrated; ask for help either from your professor or a librarian.
  9. Relax, enjoy the process and just think about how much you are learning!

Important Definitions

ABSTRACT - a brief summary of the main content of an article.

APA - a citation and formatting style used in the social sciences. APA represents the American Psychological Association.

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.

DATABASE - a collection of information that is organized and easily searchable; usually in reference to electronic information.

FULL-TEXT - the complete article.

JOURNALS (scholarly or peer reviewed) - are written for experts by experts in a field. These journals are published for an academic audience.  The articles undergo a thorough peer review process before they are published.  This review process makes scholarly articles more reliable and more useful for researchers.

MAGAZINE - a publication with popular interest articles and broad subject coverage.  Targeted to the general public or specific interest groups.

MLA - a citation and formatting style used in the humanities.  MLA represents the Modern Language Association.

PERIODICALS - are publications that are issued at regular intervals including journals and magazines.