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ENG102 (Whitehall; Mrs. Short): Research Tips

This guide is a good starting point for research for Whitehall's ENG102 class.

Start Your Research Here

   Start Your Research Here: 

You'll need at least eight sources to support your essay. Use the search box above to find some suggested types of sources: 

  • e-book chapters from online encyclopedias and other electronic books (for topic overviews and background),
  • articles from newspapers or magazines (for the latest news, and in-depth research), as well as scholarly journals.

 See tutorial videos below. You can also email Reference and Instruction Librarian Joyce Miller ( with questions. ​

Using the "Start Your Research Here" Search Box

The "Start Your Research Here" meta-search box on the library's home page does a broad, shallow search of 100 of the library's 120 databases. 

  • Limit your search to Ebooks to search 200,000+ electronic books. You can download chapters.
  • Limit to Articles to search millions of articles from 80,000 magazines, newspapers and journals.
  • Sign into your account with your college username/password to save searches and results.

These sample searches use words the databases prefer.

Click Advanced Search to add AND between your search words.

  • college* AND hazing
  • "domestic violence" OR "family violence" 
  • vaping AND youth
  • ocean* AND pollut*
  • "serial murderers" (instead of "serial killers")
  • "distance education" OR "online education" (instead of "distance learning")

To narrow results:

  • Click Advanced Search to add another subject with AND.
  • Limit by date range: last three years, for instance.
  • Limit by type of material (ebooks, articles, etc.). 
  • Add a location as a subject, such as "United States".   

Search tips:

  • Use the asterisk (*) to look for all endings of a word: pollut* = pollution, pollute, pollutes, polluting, etc. 
  • For a phrase, add quotation marks so the words are searched together: "domestic violence"
  • Use OR (on the same search line) if your topic has synonyms (words with similar meanings): "domestic violence" OR "family violence" 
  • Library databases offer draft MLA citations. Use them to save time. 

Sample searches:

Other research guides: 

Sometimes, going to another library research guide is a good way to start. For instance, if you're researching serial murderers, this is a useful guide.

Searching Individual Databases in Depth

The meta-search box above does not search some library databases at all, and does not search any database in depth. Search these databases separately: 

For newspaper articles, try this database:

Using Google's Advanced Search

To find websites from government agencies, college websites or non-profit organizations, use Google's Advanced Search. This page shows how: