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ENG 110 — Freshman Composition I - November'13 - Hernandez

Writing Collage

Contact Information

Carol Dales


The Library Homepage

Why Use the Library??

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.

Why Use the Library??

Why should I even bother to use the Library?

  • Not everything is on the Internet!
    Just doing a Google search will not always bring up the scholarly information you need!
    The Library website lets you browse and read electronic books and articles that are not freely available online as well as leading you to printed books, journals and magazines and encyclopedias that you can't find online.

  • Not everything is free online.
    The Library gives you free access to fee-based databases with hundreds of thousands of full text magazine, journal article and newspaper articles at your fingertips.

  • Librarians select high quality scholarly books, ebooks and databases especially for your classes.

  • Librarians are available to help you, in person at the Library and through email, phone and chat.

    Visit the CSUDH Library Home Page to find out more!

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 quickly access the e-book you have selected, 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 e-book.

The majority of our e-books 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. For some vendors you must register in order to download, highlight, print, etc. Registering also helps you to easily return to the book at a later time.

Some of our e-books only allow a single user at any one time, while others are licensed for multiple users. So, 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, 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, or record the title and call number, 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 that you are a current student 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. Abuse = violence = hostility = bloodshed. Unique, targeted keywords will bring up relevant sources more quickly. Remember, changing your keywords will bring up different results.

  2. Start at the Library home page and select the ARTICLES & eRESOURCES tab on the main search box. Check the Scholarly Journal Articles Only box and enter one or a few of your keywords into the search field. Combining terms can help zero in on good results. Use "quotation marks" around phrases to keep the words together. This search technique is our Quick Search tool and also can be used with the Quick Search link in the area below the search box. Quick Search searches ALL CSUDH databases and materials in the Library's online catalog (books, etc.) so you will get many, many results!
  3. If you would like to narrow your search to specific databases start with 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.
  4. 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
  5. It is now time to add Limiters to help narrow down the results. Each database has some sort of limitation feature (usually found in a sidebar) 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 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.

  • 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.

  • MLA International Bibliography:
    If you tried out Academic Search Premier and Readers Guide and still want more articles, you might enjoy searching in this huge index of scholarly research in literature, language, linguistics, and folklore from 1921 to date. If you intend to major in English, this is the database for you. Remember that MLA records have very few abstracts and very few links to full text articles!

    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. Excellent source for research papers dealing with controversial topics.

Scholarly Internet Research

If you decide to venture out 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, Wikipedia has 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 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 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.

    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.

Need a Topic??

  • Idea Generator
    Struggling to come up with a topic?  Use the Idea Generator!  On the right you will find a number of broad categories.  Click on a category to browse it and explore some ideas- then devise a more specific topic that can be turned into a research question.

  • 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.


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.  

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 that will cite sources automatically, you should 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.

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, 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 an excellent and reliable 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 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 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 a different journal index
      • Ask for help!!!

  2. Use multiple search terms and combine them using AND, OR and NOT.

  3. Try using synonyms for your search terms.

  4. Notice the Subject terms for the articles that meet your need and search on those terms.

  5. Use database limiters to reduce search results to those of high relevance.

  6. Search in multiple databases; they are all different.

  7. If using information found on the Web, use only authoritative web sites.

  8. Keep track of your citations!

  9. Don't let yourself get frustrated; ask for help either from your professor or a librarian.

  10. 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. To find out more about citations, take a look at this Deconstructing Citations Tutorial.

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.