- ebrary Collections
- Research a Literary Writer
- Popular Topics - Sample Searches
Choose a Topic / Narrow Your Topic
This page was developed to provide Composition 102 Students with several selected resources for getting ideas or starting on their research assignments.
Getting Ideas and Background Information
Listed below are selected reference databases and book series on contemporary and/or controversial issues to search and browse to find or narrow a topic. Using ORU Library reference resources will provide you with authoritative and concise information in contrast to Web browsing.
Book Series (In the ORU library and some ebooks)
The series titles below link to the library catalog records, which may include detailed chapter content, argumentative questions, pros and cons, and more. Use the book series links below to get ideas for a topic, narrow a topic, show relationship between several topics, and more.
Click a series title below then click a book title from the list to view its notes and chapter contents. When you find a book, record the call number to find it on the shelves in the library.
Issues (38 titles)
TIP: Sort the list; Use Newest First.
Viewpoints Unnumbered (130+ titles combined)
Includes bibliographies, as well as organizations,
for more information on the topic discussed. Use the catalog "sort" option to put newest titles at the top of the list.
Sides (17 titles)
Clashing views on controversial issues. More
TIP: Click the link above, scroll the titles, and then click a title to access the detailed record. Look at the contents to
view a series of topic questions, which may help to narrow or focus, your topic.
Each reference database below has unique content. For example, the CQ Research provides comprehensive information on a topic while Points of View Reference supports both sides of a controversial issue with multiple types of formats (academic journals, primary source documents, news briefs, and more. Use the databases to narrow your topic or just get ideas for your research assignment, as appropriate.
In-depth coverage, including background information, chronology, maps, charts, issues, pros/cons, and the outlook of hundreds of current social and political "hot
topics." Coverage is non-biased and authoritative. FAQs
In addition to background information, the database topic pages provide ideas to explores for a research paper. For example, the topic pages for pop
culture include entries for a wide range of social and cultural changes.
of View Reference
Current, controversial topics with multiple sides supported by articles, primary sources, news briefs, and more. Tutorial (6 mins.). Find
(Free on the Web) -- Pros and Cons of Controversial Issues
Resources include primary source documents, statistical evidence, government research and documents, and more.
See Key Points: Getting Started (library guide
How to Find Articles on Your Topic
To store and manage your information, create a personal account Folder in EBSCO. As you find items to use for your assignment(s), just add them in your "Folder" for later use. (Training video)
Step 1: Access a database. Academic
For off campus access, use the Off-Campus Access link on the library page and your Novell login.
- The database above is a good place to start as it covers all subject areas, is the largest academic database, and gives quick and easy access to change or add multiple databases with the "Choose Databases" link.
- See the QuickLinks tab above, use "Choose Databases" within EBSCO, or go to the database list page.
Step 2: Key in your terms and Search.
Start with a simple keyword search. Use keywords that describe your concept(s), topic or subject.
concept 1 AND concept 2
concealed AND handgun
concealed AND handgun AND "second amendment"
concealed AND handgun AND debat*
Use descriptive terms from your thesis statement. For example, an effective search may also include some of the following terms:
argu* (searches: argue, argues, argument)
compar* (-e, -ed, -s, -ison, -ing, -able)
controvers* (y, -ial, -ies)
Step 3: Evaluate your results -- sort and set limiters.
What are the assignment requirements?
- Relevance is usually the default display, which may give you more full text articles at the top of the list. Sort by date for the most recent articles to appear at the top of the list.
- Add limiters; set restrictions (date, peer reviewed, language, etc.)
- Use the available subject headings and subject options.
Step 4: Evaluate the articles -- read, review and save.
Click the article title to view the detailed record.
- Read the abstract, if available, to 1) see if the content is relevant to
your topic, 2) look for additional key terms to search, and 3) identify ways to narrow your topic.
- Review the article bibliography for additional relevant resource. If you identify an article of interest, go to the A-to-Z Journals List, search for the journal title, and then follow the links to go to the issue date that you need.
- Save articles to your EBSCO folder for later use, easy access and creating citations.
Step 5: Evaluate your search -- tweak and improve.
- Change or edit your search query to include other important concepts from your thesis. (Click the Searching tab above for examples of efficient search strategies.)
- In the EBSCO interface, click Choose Databases (shown below) to select and search additional databases simultaneously, or change to another database. Click Search to rerun the search in the newly selected database(s).
Use a subject research guide for subject databases, resources and search tips, or see the database list.
Step 6: Read full text.
Click HTML, PDF, Linked Full text or similar link. Or, click the Check for Full Text link to see if it is available elsewhere in the Library (i.e.,
in another database, hard-copy in the Library, microform). If an article is not available in full text in the library, the Interlibrary Loan service can get an item (for a small fee), but that is usually not necessary for the Composition 102 research assignment.
Step 7: Cite your sources.
Look for citation tools that allow you to copy, paste and then edit the citation in MLA format.
See also: Key Points: Search Strategies and How to Find Articles.
- When looking for books or ebooks, use broad keywords and subjects that identify your topic(s). In the library catalog, try a subject
search for your topic. Select from the subjects to view a list of book titles.
- eBook titles
are included in the library catalog with links to the ebook, but you may prefer to search an ebook database instead of using the library catalog.
- Includes more than 70,000 academic ebooks from scholarly and professional publishers. Also includes ~110
Encyclopedias and ~230
Dictionaries. Create a user bookshelf to store and annotate your selected books.
- — apps (iPad,
iPhone, iPod touch)
— Download options
View search strategies
To search the entire collection, type a simple search or click "Advanced" for multiple field
and text box options.
To browse and/or search by specific subject area use the "All Subjects" link at the top of the ebrary page.
To narrow your title results list click a subject, or several subjects, at the top of the page.
To open the ebook, click the title or book jacket image.
To view the most relevant chapters from all the books, click the Chapter Results tab next to the Title Results tab.
To use the Text-to-speech function: After you have found a book, click the ebrary Reader button to open
a book in ebrary's reader. Choose the "Speech" tab. Highlight text to be read or just click the "Read the selected text button" for
the page to be read.
||Use to combine different terms and narrow the search. Produces FEWER results each time a term is added with AND.
children AND evangelism
children AND evangelism AND India
||Use this operator to combine similar, or optional, terms and broaden the search. Most often produces MORE results.
(children OR child) AND (evangelism OR evangelize)
||Use to specify a term you do not want in the search results.
(children OR child) AND (evangelism OR evangelize) NOT school
Excludes results with school.
||Searches the ROOT of a word ended with *
child* AND evangel* NOT school
Searches: child, children AND evangel, evangelism, evangelical, evangelized,
|Use fewer concepts
||Increases number of results
child* AND evangel*
|Use more concepts
||Decreases number of results
child* AND (outreach OR evangel*) AND inner AND city
||Use quotation marks; Refines search
child* AND (outreach OR evangel*) AND “inner
city” AND “New York”
|NEAR: Finds words that occur "near" a specified range of each other. Use when only word RANGE is important.
inner city N5 new york
Searches: inner-city in New York or New York's inner city
|WITH: Finds words that occur near a specified range of each other. Use when word ORDER and RANGE are important.
inner city W5 new york
in New York
but not New York's inner city
|Some database may include any or all three. Subject fields, indexes and thesauri are specific and unique to a database and
its content. Respectively, they are used to divide information in related subjects, categorize and group database content, and offer collections of "controlled
that includes synonyms, related terms, and narrower and broader terms.
|Look for limiting options on the database search screen.
Examples: Full text peer reviewed
date related terms language subjects
|Note about EBSCO databases
||The EBSCO search default is a proximity of five. If you do not use AND or OR, but just type in some keywords, the search will bring up results that include all the words within a five word word range of each other. (Stop words are excluded.)
| MLA Works Cited - Database Citation Tools
Most databases have tools that create citations in several formats, such as MLA, APA and Turabian. Try the tools listed below to copy/paste/edit citations, as needed to match your assignment requirements. Always check the citation references for accuracy with the print style manual.
The examples below are for resources frequently used by students for Composition 102 research.
If you use a book from the library, do a title keyword search in the library catalog, access the record, and then click How do I Cite this? (circled in the image below) Select the correct citation style (MLA) then copy/paste/edit the citation.
In an EBSCO database, such as Academic Search Complete, use the Cite link in the "Tools" menu on the right sidebar, (The "Tools" menu is only available on the item record; it is not on the results page.)
Find a topic then use the CiteNow! link (located above the issue title) to view citation options. Note: the default style is APA so make sure to select the needed style, such as MLA.
| ebrary's Free "Open Access" Collections
The ebrary "open access" collections listed below feature a range of authoritative fact sheets, posters, ebooks, documents and other materials from government agencies and other authoritative sources.
= vendor's database description
OneSearch (EBSCO's Integrated Search Interface)
| Finding Information About a Literary Writer
Primary Sources (Works by the person)
Search the library catalog and/or databases and key in the person's name in the "author" field.
Secondary Sources (Information about the person)
Several resources and tips are provided below. Depending upon your subject, person or topic, other databases may have relevant articles. See the Biographical Information and the Literature guides for additional subject resources.
- Start with a general academic database then use subject databases.
- Try a keyword search for the person's name; add other relevant terms.
- Use the subject headings or thesaurus to look for a person as the subject.
- Try searching the name several ways. For example, use AND between the first and last name.
Biography in Context
Key in the person's name. Once you find an article or entry, review its bibliography for other relevant resources. (To find an article use the A-to-Z Journals List, search the journal title and drill down to the date or issue you need. To find a book, search the library catalog.)
Dostoyevsky and (history or life) and influence (keyword search, 19 results)
ZP "dostoyevsky, fyodor, 1821-1881" (person subject search, 471 results)
ZP "dostoyevsky, fyodor, 1821-1881", 413 results
Literary Encyclopedia (Requires individual registration using ORU email)
Literary Index (Index to Gale Literary series)
Literary Reference Center
MLA International Bibliography
Use the QuickLinks tab above to view and select from a database short list.
|Sample "Popular Topic" Searches
Click the sample search links below to the results as searched in the noted database.
Change the search to match your topic then set required limits, such as peer reviewed and date restrictions. Use the "Choose Databases" link to add or change databases to search.
- "international adoption" AND (risk* or problem*)
In database: Academic Search Complete (ASC)
- "international adoption" AND benefits
In databases: ASC and Humanities International
- gun control debate AND second amendment in
ASC, Military and Government Collection, and Political Science Complete
- gun control debate AND violence AND schools
In databases: ASC, Military and Government Collection, Political Science Complete, and Education Research Complete
- year-round schools AND advantage or benefit
ASC, Education Research Complete, ERIC
schools AND effect*
ASC, Education Research Complete, ERIC
- short term missions AND social or cultural AND youth
In databases: ASC, ATLA Religion with Full Text
Need Help? Ask-A-Librarian