University Library at St. Cloud State University

ENGL 291: Introduction to Analytical and Rhetorical Writing (Kerkvliet)

Step 1: Choose and Explore a Topic
Review articles in College Student Journal to find a topic. StarID required.

  To find facts about the topic:
Credo Reference Restricted Resource Some full text availabledatabase eref ebook
Provides online access to over 500 reference books (encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, etc.) in all subject areas. This is the premier place to look up a quick fact or to search for background information on a research topic.

Points of View Reference Center Restricted Resource Some full text availableelm database
Presents multiple sides on current controversial topics. Each topic may include topical essays, supporting articles, primary source documents, images, and videos. Unrestricted Resource
Professionally-researched pro, con, and related information on more than 50 controversial issues.
Step 2: Look for Articles

Academic Search Premier Restricted Resource Some full text availablefindit elm database
Full-text articles in biology, chemistry, education, engineering, humanities, physics, psychology, religion and theology, sociology, etc. Tip: Click the check box to limit to Academic (Peer Reviewed) Journals.

ERIC (EBSCO) Restricted Resource Some full text availablefindit elm database
ERIC is the primary database supporting research in all areas of education, including psychology, administration, and library science.
PsycINFO Restricted Resource findit database
PsycINFO is the premier source for finding scholarly articles and other information relating to all aspects of psychology and related fields.
Teacher Reference Center Restricted Resource Some full text availablefindit database
Provides indexing and abstracts for over 280 of the most popular teacher and administrator trade journals to assist professional educators.

Research Databases

Search Tips for Library Databases
  • Search by concepts/keywords, taking out common words like effect, affect, good, bad, etc.
  • Here’s one way to generate keywords:
    Example research question: How does caffeine affect the memory of college students?
    Caffeine, memory, and college students are the key concepts in this research question. The other words in question are irrelevant. To generate additional keywords, think of synonyms or related ideas for each concept.
caffeine memory college students
coffee short term memory university students
tea long term memory undergraduates
soda memorization graduate students
energy drinks retention sophomore, junior, etc.
  • Use one keyword from each column in your search. Too few or too many results? Try a different keyword. 
  • Using AND focuses or limits your search and leads to fewer results. Using OR between synonyms broadens or expands your search and leads to more results (i.e. millennials OR generation y).
example of using OR in a search
  • Use * to search for different word endings (child* searches child, child's, children, children's but also childbirth) and plurals.
  • Use quotation marks around phrases.
  • Try the Advanced Search. Change the "field" you are search using the pull down menu (for example, search for keywords only in the "Title" of an article).
Accessing Full Text Articles
  • When searching the databases for articles, look for the one of these links to access full text:
    HTML Full Text Image PDF Full Text image
  • If you don't see full text links, click on the Find It! button to view the easiest way to access the article:
    Find It button
find it menu
  • If an online full text option is not available, you will either see information about where the physical item is in the library OR be prompted to Sign in to order the item through Interlibrary Loan.
Step 3: Look for Books

Books and More (Library Catalog)

Call numbers beginning with A-D are on 2nd floor
Call numbers beginning with E-HX, J-L, and P-Z are in the basement
Call numbers beginning with M, or N are on 3rd floor
Call numbers beginning with MRC, REF, or JUV are on 1st floor

View Library Building Maps and Locations

Great River Regional Library (St. Cloud Public Library) Unrestricted Resource
Central Minnesota public library system consisting of 33 local libraries, including the main library in St. Cloud.

Step 4: Read and Evaluate Your Sources
Once you have searched for and located information, you must evaluate your results to determine which resources to use for your research assignments. One method for evaluating information is the CRAAP Test (from the Meriam Library at California State University Chico). CRAAP stands for:
  • Currency: The timeliness of the information.
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
  • Authority: The source of the information.
  • Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, objectivity, and correctness of the informational content.
  • Purpose: The reason the information exists. 
Step 5: Cite Your Sources
Academic writing involves finding, evaluating, and using information resources. When you use research, quotes, ideas, or data you have found in books, articles, web pages, etc. you need to cite the source of your information using a specific set of rules. Many scholarly organizations and publications have developed systems for documenting and citing sources. For ENGL 291, your professor requires you to use MLA (Modern Language Association) Citation Style.
The following resources offer examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Works Cited: A Quick Guide (MLA Style Center)
Describes the core elements of an MLA citation and provides examples for citing different types of sources.

MLA Style Guide, 8th Edition (IRSC Libraries)
Includes examples for citing sources, formatting your paper, using in-text citations, and  creating your Works Cited list according to the 8th edition of MLA style.

For additional resources and tools to help you manage your resources and create citations, consult the library's Citation Styles  guide. [link to guide].
Academic Integrity
Academic writing involves finding, evaluating, and using information resources. When you use research, quotes, ideas, or data you have found in books, articles, webpages, etc. you need to cite the source of your information. Why do you need to cite your sources?
  • Effectively integrating source material from the experts with your own ideas and accurately referencing that source material can lend support to the argument in your paper and credibility to your reputation as a maturing professional in your field.
  • Providing complete references enables readers who are interested in your topic to find out more about your research.
  • Just as you expect to receive credit for your work, other authors expect and deserve credit for theirs. (from LEO: Literacy Education Online
If you do not cite your sources you are being academically dishonest and guilty of plagiarism, a violation of SCSU's Student Code of Conduct

Write Place
The Write Place offers one-on-one tutoring at any stage in the writing process. Make an online appointment or visit Webster Hall 117 or University Library 135E. 
Ask a Librarian

Access to email, chat (available 24/7), and phone numbers for University Library. We have reduced Reference hours during the summer and recommend students use chat for immediate questions.
Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

Direct link:

Scholarly vs. Popular Materials Guide (NCSU)
Guide to distinguishing between scholarly journals, popular magazines, and trade journals/magazines.

Popular vs. Scholarly Articles: A Guide and Tutorial
A guide, tutorial, and quiz that helps you determine if an article is scholarly or popular (University of Arizona).

Comparison activity:

Bennett, Laura. "Woe Is Twee." New Republic, vol. 243, no.16, 2012, pp. 24-27. Academic Search Premier.

Bergman, Shawn M., et al. "Millennials, Narcissism, And Social Networking: What Narcissists Do On Social Networking Sites And Why." Personality & Individual Differences, vol. 50, no. 5, 2011, pp. 706-711. Academic Search Premier.
Library Services
View instructions and get help with troubleshooting.

Student Study Rooms
Reserve student study rooms for group work, available on the second and third floors of the Library.

Equipment Check Out
VIsit the Circulation Desk to borrow digital cameras, camcorders, projectors, and other equipment.

Husky Fetch
Place a hold on the books you want using the Library’s Books and More catalog, and Husky Fetch will fetch them for you.
Subject Specialist
Picture: Robin Ewing

Robin Ewing
Professor, Research Librarian
MC 204F
(320) 308-2093

Picture: Melissa Prescott

Melissa Prescott
Professor, Diversity and Inclusion Librarian
MC 204E
(320) 308-4751

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