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English 1301 - Irvin, Lennie: Finding and Evaluating a Source

How to find and evaluate sources for your research.

Searching as Strategic Exploration

Reference or Background Information 


Students will understand how to create a flexible search strategy for an assignment


S.1.  Utilize divergent (brainstorming) and convergent (e.g., selecting the best source) thinking when searching;

S. 2.  match information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools; and

S. 3.  use different types of searching language appropriately.


K. 1.  Realize that information sources vary greatly in content and format and have varying relevance and value, depending on the needs and nature of the search; and

K. 2.  recognize the value of browsing and persistence.

Activity:  Class will be divided into groups.  All groups will use the following research topic:

How have sugar sweetened beverages affected health in the U. S. in the past century?
  1. Get out a sheet of paper and write the research topic at the top. 
  2. Discuss with group what keywords you would use to research the topic. [5 min]
  3. One person from each group will write their keywords on the board. [5 min]
  4. Groups will be given an index card with a specific discipline from which to search their keywords.
  5. Each group will examine three different database tools and consider the following: [7 min.]
    • What types of sources did you find?  journal articles, news, print, primary source, video, audio, reference, statistics, charts, magazines, reviews, images, reports, etc
    • Were your search results relevant to your research topic?
    • Were the number of search results you found manageable?
    • How could you limit your findings to make them more manageable or relevant?
    • Consider the capabilities within the database that you like? Discuss them with your group. [2 min]
  6. Discuss each tool and determine, as a group, which one you prefer.  Write the name of the database (tool) on the index card along with the things you like best about the tool. [2 min]
  7. One person from each group will share the groups' favorite tool with the class. [2 min/group]
  8. Write a paragraph telling another student what their Best Bet will be for researching this topic within the specific discipline, and why you feel it is a Best Bet. [2 min]
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Search Examples from Tools

Tool: Library Discovery

Try an all-in-one search for topics to get articles, books, and more. Use quotation marks "for phrases" and the * to pick up alternate endings in your search string.

Library Discovery - internet addiction - search example

Off-campus access

Library databases require a login from off-campus!

  • ACES username is required for login
  • ACES password is your password for login

What does the login page look like?


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Located in the Moody Learning Center (MLC) building, floors 2 - 5
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