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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


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; and

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

Activity:  All groups will begin with the following research topic:

How have sugar sweetened beverages affected health in the U. S.?
  1. Class will be divided into groups.  Groups will be given an index card with a specific discipline from which to search.[2 min]
  2. Discuss with your group a different research question based on the example and your specific discipline and relevant keywords. Write your research topic at the top of your card followed by keywords you would use to research the topic. [8 min]
  3. Ask for volunteer group to write their keywords on the board. [5 min]
  • Discuss keywords and search strings and where to find the A-Z List & Subject List of Search Tools. [4 min.]
  1. Each group will examine three different database tools and consider the following: [10 min.]
    • What types of content did you find?  journal articles, news, primary source, video, audio, reference, statistics, 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? [printing, emailing, citing, upload to Cloud, download, cited references, cited by, share, etc.]  Discuss them with your group.
  2. Discuss each tool and determine, as a group, which tool do you prefer.  Write the name of the database (tool) on the index card along with the things you like best about the tool. [8-10 min]
  3. Volunteer from groups will share their favorite tool with the class. [3 min/group-15 min]
  4. Write a paragraph telling another student the steps in the process of searching and why each step is important. Also, 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]


Collaborate Recording

View, fast-forward, and rewind through this recording of how to use search tools and strategies to find sources related to "The Case Against Sugar."

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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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