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COMP-303 Critical Reading and Writing, Course Research Guide: Articles

Course Library Research Guide

This guide supplements the LIBBI session and includes suggested resource links, search strategies, and research tips to support the course assignments and student research needs. It is provided to help Composition 303 students with the research assignment(s), which may include writing on an ethical issue within a discipline or career, analysis of contemporary lyrics, worldviews and more. If off campus, when prompted, log in with your ORU network login or Single Sign-On (SSO).

Choose a Database

Discovery Tool:

Multidisciplinary Database:

Subject-related databases (Literature):

Full Text Finder Link

Most articles are available full text. If the full text is not available in the database you are searching, use the "Full Text Finder" link Full Text Finderif it is available in the left sidebar of the article record. The link may go to1) the full text article in another database, 2) the Library catalog record when the article is available in print in the Library, and 3) the open access journal, or article, available on the Web or publisher's web site.

Search Examples

Use descriptive words from your thesis statement when searching article database. In your search expression, include subject headings or thesaurus terms to optimize your results.Use a variety of databases and search expressions.


Example: You need to write a paper on and ethical dilemma in your chosen career, a military chaplain.

opens new windowmilitary chaplain AND ethic* - in Academic Search Complete
opens new windowmilitary chaplain* AND (ethic* OR moral*) AND (issue* or controvers*) -in Academic Search Complete, ATLA Religion, and Military & Government Collection
opens new windowDE "military chaplains" AND (christian and Bibl*) - in Academic Search Complete and Military & Government Collection; DE=descriptor or subject heading


Example: You are looking for background resources and articles on the science fiction novel, Red Mars.

opens new window"red mars" AND (future or vision or apocalyptic) AND literature - in Humanities Source and Literary Reference Center
opens new window (ZP "red mars") - "Quick Reference" in Literary Reference Center; includes principal characters, essay and sources for further study
opens new window"red mars" AND (Robinson or literature) AND TX technology - (phrase, keywords and text searching)

What will the following search bring up?

opens new windowWelty and (roses OR "Worn Path") - in Literary Reference Center

Search Strategies

Use the chart below to guide you in developing effective search expressions.

Search Strategies

Evaluate and edit your search

Evaluate the Search Result List
Sort the List: Relevance is usually the default display. Sort by date for the most recent articles to appear at the top.
Add Limiters: Date, peer reviewed, subjects, language, etc.

Evaluate Your Articles
Click the title to view the full record. If available, read the abstract (article summary) to see if the article is relevant to your topic. Look for additional keywords and subjects to search and refine your results.

Edit/Expand Your Search
In the EBSCO platform, use the "Choose Databases" link (shown below) to mark and search a different database or mark several databases to search simultaneously.

Read the article full text.
Click HTML, PDF, Full Text, Full Text Finder, or similar link. Note: "Full Text Finder" may link to 1) the article in another database, 2) the ORU library catalog record that shows the journal is available in the library, or 3) an open access article on the Web or a publisher's website.

Cite your sources.
In EBSCO databases, use the "Cite" tool or create multiple citations using the Print manager.

If you searched your topic in a database and got "zero" results:

1. Always check your spelling first. (It is the easiest correction to make.)

2. Edit your search. Consider using fewer keywords, the subject index, the thesaurus, synonyms, truncation (the asterisk *), and other tools to revise your search. For example, searching effect* will bring up results that include effects, effective, effectual, effected, etc. A well designed search query will give the most relevant results and save you time.

3. ORU has numerous subject databases. Choose a different database or try several subject databases related to your topic or subject.

Need Help? Ask-A-Librarian.