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.

  • These might be good places to start, because some of your topics are quite interdisciplinary
  • To search many of their databases simultaneously, go to the library home page --> ARTICLES, and choose either one:


Databases for Economics and Anthropology

  • Econlit -- More than 1 million items about all areas of economics, from 1886+
  • Race Relations Abstracts -- Documenting three pivotal decades in the fight for civil rights, this resource includes speeches, reports, surveys, and analyses about poverty and inequality, class, housing, employment, education, segregation, discrimination, and government policy during 1943-1970.
             The materials were produced by the Race Relations Department staff and others at Fisk University (Nashville, TN). The department was "a
    highly influential think tank offering a forum for discussion and research on racial topics... This resource sheds light on the fascinating work of the Department through the digitisation of extensive records from the Department’s archives, now held at the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans."

Current Affairs and News -- To see all of our news sources, see this list.

Law, Policy, Political Science-- In CQ Researcher Plus (Congressional Quarterly), you can browse topics; e.g., Health; Employment and Labor

  • Each topic has more specific subtopics; e.g., Business and Econdomics --> Consumer Credit and Debt -->
    "Evictions and COVID-19" (April 2021) or "Protecting Consumer Finances" (November 2020)
     
  • TIP: In the search box in top right, use the phrase "wealth gap"
  • Always notice the dates!

Government

Other Research Guides  -- (There are a lot of guides; scroll through the list so you know what's there)

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 FINDIT 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

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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.

Important:
  • 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.)

Scopus:


 

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:

Problem Statement
Make sure that your research statement -- also called "thesis statement" -- is very clear, and include evidence to support it.

---Here is a definition from the Writing Center at U. North Carolina Chapel Hill
"A thesis statement is “usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader...
The rest of the paper…gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your [analysis].”

---"How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement" (from U. Evansville, IN).

---More information about your thesis statement (adapted from Writing Style Guide, Trident University International):

  • The most effective writing is centered around one main point. All supporting points, details, and examples are related to that one main point, which is often called "the thesis statement."

  • The goal of academic writing is to inform, explain, and persuade, so this statement must be extremely clear.

  • Having a thesis statement can also help to keep you focused as you write.

Writing Tips

  • Spell Check is good, but you must still read through it or have a friend read through it, because there are many words that mean different things. For example:  there/their;  great/grate
  • What about authors who disagree with you or point out limitations to your approach? You should make sure to talk about those; for example, "Some authors point out that _______. However, our approach avoids that problem by ______."
  • Every word and every sentence must be clear. If you use words like "it" or "he" or "those," make sure that the reader will know who or what the word is referring to.
  • Every paragraph must follow logically from the one before it -- if you are going to introduce a new subject, say something like, "Related to that is the concept of X," or "Now we will discuss Y."

Writing a Literature Review -- Note especially the last three pages of the library's guide to Writing a Literature Review -- summarize, synthesize, and integrate.

How To Cite Sources

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

  • You are using APA in this class, and the latest edition is 7th
     

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

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


 
For Writing Help
Quick survey: One-minute Paper
  • All you need is my name; I already know your prof's name and the course number.