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ENGL 1301 NE Petree: Home



This guide is designed to help you with your upcoming research project.

Below you will find resources on how to find an idea and come up with keywords to use in the databases. 

Books- will show you how to find e-books in our library collection

Databases- will show you how to use our databases and will give you a few suggestions on which one to use based on your topic

Need help- Still have questions? Want to talk to a librarian? We're still available- our hours have changed (Mon-Fri 8-8, Sat 10-4) but someone is on Chat waiting to hear from you. So contact us if you need help. 

Helpful Handouts

TCC Library Website

There are two main ways to search the library. The way you choose will depend on the types of sources your professor has asked you to find. 

  • TCC Catalog: This is the best place to search for ebooks. Ebooks are good sources for introductions to a topic and beginning research on a topic you don't know well. The authority of ebooks varies, so choose carefully if you are only allowed to use scholarly sources. 
  • Article Databases: Databases are online pockets of information that can include newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, ebooks, and even videos. If you are asked to find peer-reviewed research, databases are the best place to go!

Brainstorm Keywords

Brainstorm keywords that represent the main concept(s) of your topic.  Think about what words you would want to see in an article that may indicate it would be useful for your research.

Topic: credit card debt among American college students
Key concepts: credit card debt American college students
Related keywords: personal finance United States undergrad
  consumer debt USA young adults


Need more help?  Try the Keyword Generator from California State University, Fullerton.  It walks you through the process of finding keywords relevant to your topic.

Search Strategies

Combine the keywords you brainstormed into a search strategy.  Put phrases in quotation marks and/or use AND, OR, NOT (Boolean operators) to get more precise results.

Broad Search

Search for information using the single most important term related to your topic.

Narrow Search

Search for information by combining keywords you brainstormed.

Too many irrelevant results? 

Add more keywords.

Too few relevant results? 

Remove or change keywords     


Adapted from: UT Arlington Library