Writing Resources

Writing tools, support, and tips.

All of the Things You Need

Save your time!  Use these search techniques:
  • Put quotation marks around PHRASES (two or more words), so that the words are searched together
    --- Example: "chicken pox"
  • Put an asterisk at the end of words, so that you get all of the word endings
    --- Example: high* = high, highs, higher, highest
  • Think of alternate spellings or synonyms
    --- "health care" OR healthcare -- it's used both ways. You should also add   OR "medical care"
  • Start by putting your search words in the TITLE. If you get nothing, you can take them out of the Title and move them to "Anywhere."

Where to Search

Articles about All Topics -- EBSCO and ProQuest are two companies who produce a lot of databases about everything.

  • To search many of their databases simultaneously, go to the library home page --> ARTICLES, and choose either one:

Databases for Earth and Environmental Sciences

  • GreenFile -- Covers "all aspects of human impact to the environment. Its collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles includes content on the environmental effects of individuals, corporations, and local/national governments, and what can be done at each level to minimize these effects."
  • Gale in Context - Environmental Studies -- "Physical, social, and economic aspects of environmental issues. ...covering energy systems, health care, agriculture, climate change, population, and economic development." Start with Browse Topics (on the right)!

Current Affairs and News -- See the tab called "What's the News?"

Law, Policy, Political Science-- In CQ Researcher (Congressional Quarterly), you can browse topics; e.g., Transportation, or Environment, Climate, and Natural Resources.

  • Each topic has more specific subtopics; e.g., Transportation --> Public Transportation --> Aging Infrastructure


Research Guides -- There are a lot of these; scroll through the list just so you know what's there.

JHU Info Sources such as the Hub

VERY Broad Search -- Google Scholar

  • In addition to the specialized databases listed above, some of your topics might benefit from a carefully focused Google Scholar search
  • Make sure to set the dates, UN-check Patents and Citations, use phrases instead of single words, and always make sure you can see FIND IT links

Use journal articles to get:

  • a narrow or specific part of your topic
  • up-to-date information

1. Library home page --> Databases

2.  Click "Browse list of databases"

Library home page, databases link


3. Choose a subject to see the databases with information about it


4. In each list, start with the databases under CORE -- they are the best and most relevant 

  • For a description about the database's topics, click "More Info" next to the database name:

News items can tell you the most recent information, and also provide the names of information sources about your topics.

  • If the news item cites a report, article, web site, or other original source of information, find *that* and cite it

  • It's your job to confirm the information in a news item, social medium item, or anything other than something scholarly

Who has cited this article, and therefore may be doing this kind of work?

You can find out by doing regular searches. But if you have found a great article that is about your topic, you can also see who cited THAT article.

  • For example, if you found a great article from 2017, you can see what other articles cited that article since it was written.
  • If your favorite article was cited by someone else, there is a good chance that the citing author (that is, the person who mentioned your favorite article) is doing similar work.
  • (Remember that newer articles will not have had time to be cited by other authors.)

Databases that tell you who cited papers are:

  1. Web of Science -- (see screen shots below)
  2. Scopus -- In your list of search results, go to SORTED BY on the far right, and choose "Cited by (highest)" or "Cited by (lowest)" (screen shot below)
  3. Google Scholar -- Click on "Cited by [number]" under the citation
    (NOTE: Google Scholar's number will always be too high, because Scholar adds additional things such as lecture notes and Powerpoint slides.)



Web of Science: Choose "Cited References," and add the information about the paper you want to see cited ("Cited Work" is the JOURNAL title, not the article). You can also add a row if you want to just search with a few words from the ARTICLE title.

Click SEARCH, and click the number under "Citing Articles" to see the articles that have cited this article:

How To Cite Sources
  • The library's Citing guide gives information about the three main reference styles and some others

  • Your professor prefers MLA

Citation Managers -- These let you export citations FROM databases INTO the manager, so that you can put them into separate folders, and bring out a bibliography in whatever style you want

Example of using folders to help you organize your final report:

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