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Introduction to College Writing Argumentative Essay Research

Use this guide to help gather and understand information you'll need to write an essay on your chosen conspiracy theory.

Library Databases--Search for articles and more

Library databases collect and organize published information from newspapers, magazines, journals, and other sources. They are designed for the needs of researchers and students. They usually contain:

  • Basic and Advanced Search boxes
  • Citations
  • Options to email, print, and save articles
  • Filters for publication date, subject, and more 

A Few Tips and Tricks

  • When searching, put quotes around phrases of more than one word (e.g. "teen homelessness") to search for the phrase instead of the individual words.
  • Use Boolean Operators (AND, OR, and NOT) to help you narrow or expand your results.
    • Searching for restaurant AND delivery will give you results with both words present. Therefore, your results are fewer.
    • Using OR between similar keywords will give you results that include both words. Therefore, your results are greater. A search for restaurant OR cafe will retrieve either or both terms.

      The NOT operator gives you results from only one of your words. Therefore, your results are fewer. Searching for delivery NOT food will eliminate articles containing the word food from the results.

  • When you are searching, remember that you are talking to a machine.
    It can't read your mind, so you will have to adapt your communication to it.

Watch the 2-minute videos below for a brief intro to searching.

Need help with any of this? Email/call/talk to a librarian. It's our job and joy to help you.

For more information on the research process, check out the guide below.

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