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ENG 111 — Freshman Composition II - October '13 - Armstrong


Contact Information

Carol Dales


The Library Homepage

Finding Books & Current Journals & The Check-out Process

Finding Scholarly Material

Finding Journal Articles Online

Recommended Databases

Scholarly Internet Research


MLA Citation Style

General Research Tips

Identify, locating, and citing scholarly journal articles

Important Definitions

The Library Homepage

Start your research by going to the University Library Homepage.


  • SEARCH BOX - 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 lead to pages that will help you efficiently use University Library resources.
  • REQUEST MATERIALS FROM OTHER LIBRARIES - If the book or article you need is not available at CSUDH, search for it at other libraries and request it through the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) process.
  • RESEARCH & SCHOLARLY ASSISTANCE - These links guide you through the research process and link 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.
  • 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.


The left sidebar offers links to Library Hours, Library Announcements and Quick Links to renew books online and email a librarian for research assistance.


Library Location

Library Hours

Reserve Desk

Library Guides

Ask A Librarian  

Reference Desk

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 dropdown 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 eBooks you can read online.
  • when you click on a book or journal, a page will appear with a more detailed record of the book/journal (location of the book in the Library, its status  (available, checked out, lost, etc.) and subject terms). The record may also include the table of  contents and a summary. 

  • How to Use the Torofind Online Catalog is a more detailed 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 an eBook, click the link below the title of the book. 

  • If you click on the title of the book you will get the detailed record and can follow the link from there to open the eBook.

  • The majority of our eBooks come from three major vendors: ebrary, EBSCO and Safari. Each has a different interface, so use the Help links to find out how to download, save, print, highlight pages, keep notes on pages and more.

  • All of the e-book databases allow you to create an account. Some vendors require you to register in order to download, highlight, print, etc. Registering also helps you to easily return to the book at a later time. Many of our e-books only allow one user at a time, but some others are licensed for multiple users. If you get a message that the book is in use, check back a little later to see if has been released and "put back on the shelf."

    And, be sure to exit out of the book when finished using it, as this allows it to be used immediately by other students.

Reserve Books:

If your professor has put a book on reserve, find the 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 ask for the book at the Reserve Desk (which is located on the 2nd floor, east of the entrance to the Library) print out this record, or record the title and call number, and take it to the Reserve Desk.

Checking Out Books:

  • To check out books, take them to the Circulation Counter at the Library entrance (most of the journal collection is for Library use only).

  • You need a valid student ID card or a notification from Admissions & Records that you are a current student to check out books (you MUST have your student ID card with you)

  • 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 InterLibrary Loan!

Finding Scholarly Material

Locating Scholarly Books:

An online library catalog such as the ToroFind Library Catalog is the best place to locate print and electronic books (eBooks) on your topic. When you find a book listed in the online catalog or on the library shelf, use the following guidelines to help determine if the book may be a scholarly work.

 What to look for:

  • Publisher: If the publisher is a university press, (e.g., University of Oklahoma, Yale University) the book is almost always a scholarly work. If the publisher is an association, it is often a scholarly work, (e.g., The Modern Language Association of America). There may also be commercial publishers that publish scholarly works in your area of research--check with a librarian for help.

  • Authors: What is their expertise? Who are they affiliated with? What other books or articles have they written? Do other publications cite their works? Some of this information may be included in the book itself, but sometimes additional research will be needed.

  • Editors: When a book has an editor or editors and is composed of chapters written by different authors, it is often a scholarly work.
  • Chapter Titles: Look at the chapter titles for the book (often these will be included in the catalog record). The terminology and focus of the titles will often indicate whether it is scholarly material.
  • References: Does the book contain bibliographical references, bibliography, or footnotes? If so, it is probably a scholarly work.
  • Audience: Does the book seem to be written for research and academics or for popular reading?

Locating Scholarly, Peer reviewed Journal Articles:

The Library databases are the best sources for finding scholarly articles.

Once you are in a library database (such as Academic Search Premier), look for the option to limit your results to articles from scholarly or peer reviewed journals. Remember however, even when you use this limiter, the individual article must be evaluated to determine if it meets the criteria of a scholarly article.

Some Library databases (such as
JSTOR, Sage Journals Online and Oxford Journals) contain only scholarly peer reviewed journals.

For more detailed help with scholarly articles, see the tutorial at the end of this page. 

Finding Journal Articles Online

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

  1. Determine search terms. Brainstorm keywords that describe your topic and then think of synonyms for these terms that might appear in professional journals.
    For example: human rights = civil rights = abuse of rights. Abuse = violence = hostility = bloodshed.
    Remember, different keywords will bring up different results.

  2. Click the Articles, e-Books, Online Scholarly Resources area below the search box.
    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.

  3. Some databases will default to a basic search screen, others open in a more advanced search screen. The advanced search screens allow you to use the operators described below:
    • 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

  4. Add Limiters to help narrow down the results. Each database has some sort of limitation feature (usually found in a sidebar or below the search area) 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
  5. If you find an article that is right in line with your research topic, look at the SUBJECT terms listed (usually below the abstract or summary of the article).
    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

  • Click the red and white "Find it @CSUDHLib(rary) button (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 InterLibrary Loan. It takes about a week to receive it once you submit your request. You might also ask a librarian to try  to find it elsewhere; sometimes librarians can work a little magic!
  • Many databases let you 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 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 cdales@csudh.edu or 310-243-2088 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 (NOTE: not every article is available in full text). This is a good starting point for many searches.

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 articles will be full-text. The database also includes citations to journal articles, article summaries, reports, book chapters, etc.

Readers Guide Full Text: 
Covers over 450 periodicals as far back as 1983 and provides searchable full text of articles from over 250 journals as far back as 1994. PDF page images of full-text articles provide access to illustrations, photographs and other graphical content from the original article.

Features over 2.1 million records and includes full text for more than 860 journals dating back to 1908.

Newspaper Databases

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 look on the World Wide Web for information, be aware that not all websites are created equal. Some sites, such as government sites, are valid sources of information, but others are full of 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 or up-to-date.

Remember: Wikipedia is great to introduce you to the general background on a subject. Sometimes, even librarians will check a Wikipedia article to get quick background information on a topic new to them. 
The bibliography part of a Wikipedia article can provide reliable resources to help you begin your research process. But Wikipedia is not considered a scholarly source for academic research.

 These guidelines will help you 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 about judging whether a website is reliable, take a look at this YouTube video:


Useful Scholarly Websites on The Deep Web:

The results from this site bring up a number of government resources in addition to some articles in academic databases. If we subscribe to the database, the article will open for you. You can also choose to search by a few select databases and deep web search engines.

Hot Topics Guide is a selection of guides on popular topics with reliable Internet resources selected by librarians to help students gather excellent information for their papers and projects.

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, no matter how or where you found them, as your own
  • Cutting and pasting Internet material into your paper.

Plagiarism is such a serious matter that it 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 an offense as if you had known what you were doing.

But 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.  

For more information about plagiarism, see your student handbook, the CSUDH Student Code of Conduct, and this page from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL).

P.S.: Take a look at our new CSUDH Library anti-plagiarism tutorial: Plagiarism: How to recognize it and get it out of your life! (and don't forget to try out the challenging plagiarism game at the very end!)

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, such as Zotero, that will cite sources automatically, you should also know how to do it on your own. These web sites are not always updated and can sometimes be incorrect. If your professor is a stickler for correct citation usage, then he will notice the errors almost immediately.

Ask for an MLA handbook at the Reference Desk if you need to take a look at it when preparing your citations and bibliography. Here are some examples of MLA bibliography citations:

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.

Each of these citations looks slightly different, but 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 Purdue OWL - Purdue Online Writing Lab  is a reliable and easy-to-use online resource that will  also help you cite correctly .

General Research Tips
    1. Once you are successfully logged in to a database, 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 first 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 and do another search with those index (subject/controlled vocabulary) terms.
      • If the database 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 and NOT.

      • 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 in a different database--they are all different.
        • Ask for help!!!

    More tips:

    • use only authoritative web sites
    • Keep careful track of your citations!
    • Don't let yourself get frustrated; ask for help either from your professor or a librarian.
    • Relax, enjoy the process and just think about how much you are learning!

    Identify, locating, and citing scholarly journal articles
    What is a periodical?  |  What is a periodical index?  |  What is a citation?  |  What is an abstract?  |  What is a scholarly peer-reviewed journal?  |  How can I be sure I'm consulting scholarly articles?

    What is a periodical?

    A periodical is a paper or electronic publication that is issued on a regular basis (quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily, etc.). Four kinds of periodicals you will find in most libraries are:

    • Newspapers - (e.g. Los Angeles Times, Washington Post) report on current events, express opinions, and publish special interest features.
    • Popular Magazines - (e.g. Psychology Today, Time, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Us, Ebony, Mira!) present articles of popular interest on a variety of subjects.
    • Journals - (e.g. International Affairs, Journal of American History, Theatre Research International) publish articles by scholars and other experts in their fields reporting on studies and research that they have conducted in a particular subject area.
    • Trade Magazines - (e.g. Advertising Age, Journal of Accountancy) enable practitioners in a trade or profession to communicate with each other about new products and methodologies.

    What is a periodical index?

    A periodical index is an index to the articles in a variety of newspapers, magazines and journals.

    Periodical indexes usually appear in one of two formats:

    • Electronic - Most periodical indexes are now available on the internet.
    • Paper (bound volumes) - Sometimes still used for older periodicals.

    An electronic periodical index is often called an electronic database, online database or simply a database.

    Databases and electronic periodical indexes let you search by subject, keyword and a variety of other criteria for citations that lead to articles relevant to your assignment.

    Many electronic and paper periodical indexes include abstracts (concise descriptions of the contents of articles) as well as citations. Many electronic periodical indexes also include convenient access to the full text of some or all of the articles to which they provide citations.


    What is a citation?

    A citation is a brief description of a work that provides the reader of your paper with enough information to locate the completework that you are quoting or to which you are referring in your footnoter bibliography. A citation includes:

    • the author's name
    • the title of the work
    • the location and name of the publisher
    • the year the work was published.

    To fully identify a source that is part of a larger work, a citation should also include:

    • the title of a specific article or chapter
    • the volume number in which the source appeared
    • the page numbers within the larger work

    When citing any periodical article, also include:

    • the author of the article
    • the title of the article
    • the name of the periodical
    • the volume, date and page numbers of the issue in which the article appears

    While all the information in a citation remains as listed above, there are several different writing styles. These styles differ based on what type of class you are taking. If your professor has not mentioned which style you should use, ask!

    You can locate the correct format for both electronic and paper citations in your area of study by looking in the style manual recommended by your instructor or by visiting the CSUDH Library webpage How to Cite Your Sources in a Research Paper.


    What is an Abstract?

    An abstract is a brief summary of a larger work such as a journal or magazine article. You can read through the abstract to decide whether an article will be helpful in your research. Remember that reading an abstract is NOT the same as reading the entire journal article—you cannot cite the article unless you locate and read the entire article!!


    What is a Scholarly Peer-reviewed Journal?

    You will often be asked to complete an assignment using scholarly or peer reviewed articles.

    This type of periodical article is generally found in a scholarly journal. A scholarly journal is a periodical that contains articles written by and for professionals or scholars such as historians, scientists and psychologists. These publications contain:

    • articles about recent research in a particular field of study
    • articles that summarize the current state of knowledge on a topic within the field of study.

    Scholarly journals are widely regarded as a reliable source of information on a topic because each article is evaluated both by an editorial board and by experts who are not part of the editorial staff before it is accepted it for publication. This process of evaluation is called the peer review or referee process.Other terms often used to refer to scholarly journals include:

    • peer-reviewed journal
    • journal
    • refereed journal
    • academic journal
    • research journal
    • juried publication

    Periodical articles from magazines or newspapers provide some basic information on a topic but usually lack the depth and authority of scholarly journal articles.

    Characteristics of scholarly journals:

    • authors of articles are authorities in their fields
    • most articles are reports on scholarly research
    • articles use jargon of the discipline or technical language
    • articles have little or no advertising
    • illustrations are usually charts and graphs
    • articles are usually long (more than 5 pages) and include footnotes, endnotes and lists of references (bibliographies) citing the authors' sources
    • journals are often published by professional organizations (such as the American Psychological Association)


    How can I be sure I'm consulting scholarly articles?

    Use an appropriate periodical index that indexes primarily scholarly journals such as JSTOR , Wilson Web , Project Muse or Medline.

    Use a periodical index that allows you to restrict or limit your search to scholarly journal articles by making a checkmark in the appropriate box. Academic Search Premier, ABI Inform/ProQuest, CINAHL Plus with Full Text and many other databases offer this function.

    Determine whether a particular journal you want to cite is truly a peer reviewed, refereed journal by checking the title in Ulrichs Periodical Directory online (enter the journal title and look for a small black and white referee's t-shirt icon to the left of the title).

    Read through abstracts (brief summaries provided with search results in many electronic periodical indexes, and often found at the beginning of a scholarly article, just below the title)

    Look for some of these characteristics of a scholarly article:

    • description of recent formal research or a scientific study conducted by the authors
    • a summary of previous work in the field by the authors
    • other researchers (literature review) references to subjects or materials that were studied and methods that were used to conduct research description of results or conclusions drawn from the research

    Read the article itself, looking for:

    • technical language or jargon that belongs to a particular academic field
    • charts or graphs that illustrate results of research
    • citations to the author’s sources (other books and articles) in footnotes or at the end of the article.

    View this helpful interactive tutorial: Evaluating Scholarly Content Online (takes about 5 minutes).

    If you still feel you need help, contact a librarian for help.


    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, magazines and newspapers.