Skip to main content

English 1301 - Vaughan, David: Finding a Source

Find a journal article and summarize.

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, 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 pairs or groups.  All groups will use the five Ws to define their research topic:

  1. Get out a sheet of paper and write the subject of your research at the top. 
  2. Discuss with group what keywords you would use to research the topic. Think about the five Ws when choosing keywords.
    Write 3 possible keywords on the board. 
  3. Brainstorm with your group what subject or discipline is relevant to your research topic. 
  4. Each person should choose a single database from the list of subjects.  Search that database using your keywords.
  5. When examining your database consider the following:
    • 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?
      • source type
      • date range
      • geography
      • subject 
    • Consider the extra features within the database that you like? (email, citation, download, print, etc.) Discuss them with your partner.
  6. Choose a different database from the list of subjects. Search that database using your keywords.
  7. Discuss each tool and determine, which one you prefer.  Write the name of the database (tool) on your sheet of paper along with the things you like best about the tool.
  8. Share your favorite tool with the class. 
Loading ...

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?


San Antonio College Library, 1819 Main Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212
Located in the Moody Learning Center (MLC) building, floors 2 - 5
Reference Desk: (210) 486-0554 * Send Email
Library interior & exterior photos by: Leonard Ziegler, SAC photographer

Copyright © 2015 San Antonio College