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ENGL 1301 SO Harvey: Overview

Social Issues Research Video for Mobile Devices

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Help with your research paper

Catalog Tips

There are several ways to search the Library catalog to locate books on your topic.

Keyword... For searching broad topics. e.g. Green Economy

Title Begins with... Name of the book you are looking for. e.g. Streetcar Named Desire

Title contains... For finding titles that contain a specific word.

Journal Title... Title of the magazine or scholarly journal you are looking for. e.g. Vogue

Publication Year... Year the resource was published.

Author/Title Browse... Browses authors or book titles.

Database Tutorials

Tutorials on using the different TCC library subscription databases can be found on the Database Tutorial Page.


This Research Guide has been designed to assist you in your research for persuasive or argumentative papers for ENGL 1301 with Iris Harvey.This page contains basic hints and tips for doing library research.

Click on the tabs above to be directed to specific research sources. Each tab has resources bookmarked specific to that set of topics, suggested search terms and suggested sub-topics.

If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to "ask a librarian" . 

Social Issues Research

This is an .mp4 video that uses Shockwave/Flash.

Research Tips

Once you have chosen your topic, the next step is to begin collecting information you can use to support your writing. Your instructor will tell you how many sources you are required to use for each essay. Here are a few steps you can take that will make this research process easier.

  • Know something about your topic. This sounds like a no-brainer but it will help in several ways - it can help you choose search terms (unique words for the topic) that can be used for searching, it will also help you evaluate the reliability of the information you find with your search.
  • Narrow down your topic. A broad topic is always more difficult to research than a specific one. A search like  "global warming" will get you thousands of search results, so you will spend a lot of time wading through those results to find what you need. A search like "global warming" and solutions will find fewer results and they will be more specific to your topic.
  • Investigate different resources. You will miss out on lots of information if you limit yourself to using resources you can find online - whether databases or internet. The older your topic is, the more useful you will find books for your research. Books are generally more thoroughly researched and will give you more in-depth information than articles found in databases.
  • Check your sources with your instructor. If you are not sure if the sources you are using are acceptable, contact your instructor during their office hours and ask that they take a look at what you have found thus far. If you are heading down the wrong road this can save you many hours of redoing your research!
  • Ask a Librarian! Each TCC Library has professional researchers (librarians) available in-person and online to help students with the research process. They can help you focus your research, sometimes suggest keywords to use for your topic, and guide you to the best resources available. To ask for help online, send an email to:

Internet or Databases?

The Internet is good for a lot of searches and source types.  For example, if you need very current information or news and commentary, Web searching is a good strategy.

Databases are special -- they are collections of information (usually articles from magazines and scholarly sources) made available to subscribers.  Databases are very valuable because they contain and maintain specific collections, and are relatively easy to search.  We use the Web to access Database collections, but articles accessed are not considered "online" or "web" sources in the same way that a Wikipedia entry is.

Using the Library Catalog

The TCC Library catalog gives you access to materials from all of the campus libraries. It will locate print books, and also give you online access to electronic materials such as ebooks, audiobooks, and streaming videos.

Access the TCC Library Catalog:

A good way to start is to type in the topic you are researching (See "Starting Your Research" tab in this guide for more information on this). The catalog will look for your words in the titles of books as well as descriptions and tables of contents of books. Once you have obtained a result list, you can modify it to suit your needs.

If you are looking for ebooks, audiobooks or streaming videos, try clicking the "Electronic Book" link in the blue column to the right of your result list. This will limit your results to just those materials you can access online through the catalog. Some of the materials you find in this area will require you to login in with your WebAdvisor username and password (the same as you use for Campus Cruiser).

If you are interested only in books that are available on your specific campus, the same blue column on the right of your result list will enable you to limit your results to materials on a specific campus.

For more in-depth information about searching the TCC Library catalog, see the Library Research Overview LibGuide Catalog tab.

Can't I Just Google It?

The simple answer is No, you can't just Google it. The TCC libraries pay for your access to the databases we provide, therefore that information is not available for free on the internet. Our vendors want to make sure that only TCC students access this information, which is why you have to login when you are using an off-campus computer.

Using Library Databases

Finding Articles in Periodicals:

Off-Campus Note: If you are using a computer outside the TCC network, you will be redirected to a login page after you select one of the database services. The login page will give you specific instructions on entering your user name and password. If you have problems signing on, contact the library staff for assistance.

Once you have selected the database and followed any login instructions, enter your search terms. You can perform a basic or advanced search. The basic search is further divided by keywords or exact phrases. For most searches, basic keyword combinations [Example: privacy and terrorism] are sufficient. If you need to limit your results to "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" journals only, check the box labeled "peer-reviewed." In addition, check the box labeled "full text" (if available) so you will only get articles that include the full text.

Document formats: Once you have completed your search and are viewing the result list, you will notice that many articles are available in different formats.

  • HTML Full Text - This format includes just the text of the article and has limited graphics. This is the best choice if you do not need the included images or graphics, or you are saving/emailing the article and need to conserve space on your computer disk or in your mailbox.
  • PDF or Full Page Image - A scanned image that displays the article just as it appeared in the magazine or journal. It will include any charts, graphics, and pictures that appeared with the original article. This can be useful if you are looking for visual aids. Viewing a PDF requires the free Acrobat Reader.

If the documents are not what you are looking for, click on "Refine Search" and try other terms. Try searching synonyms, using specific phrases for exact searches, or use the Expand Search to locate related words.

I Found An Article, Now What?

Once you find an article you want to use for your assignment, you may read it online, print it, email to your email account or save it to disk. The information is the same for all. Be sure if you are printing, emailing, or saving it to disk, that you check the box to include full text.

Caution: Be careful when emailing a PDF article, because those files can be quite large. Many email/Internet providers have strict limits on the size of messages and attachments, and oversized PDF attachments might be deleted automatically by your email server or exceed your available mailbox space.

Your Campus Cruiser email address follows this format: 

For instance, if your Campus Cruiser username is marion.librarian25667

then your Campus Cruiser email address is: