Skip to Main Content

ENGL 203 - American Literature I - Woodring

Types of Articles

popular magazine

Popular resources contain articles from magazines and newspapers that can be found at local bookstores, grocery stores or newsstands. These resources have glossy pages with bright colors and images. They feature many advertisers. Trendy issues and opinions, not serious research, tend to make up the bulk of these publications (56).

Upson, Matt, et al. Information Now: A Graphic Guide to Student Research. U of Chicago P, 2015


trade periodical picture

Professional or trade publications specialize in information relevant to a profession or industry and are published by professional organizations. Articles found in trrade publications may be acceptable for research, but be sure to verify questionable claims or conclusions (57).

Upson, Matt, et al. Information Now: A Graphic Guide to Student Research. U of Chicago P, 2015

scholarly article picture

These articles are written by professional academics and researchers. The articles are published by professional organizations or academic institutions and feature original research and analysis of topics of importance to a profession or academic area. The articles are peer reviewed. These are credible sources (59).

Upson, Matt, et al. Information Now: A Graphic Guide to Student Research. U of Chicago P, 2015


Combining your Keywords

Choose simple but clear keywords and connect them with boolean language (AND, OR, NOT)

AND Searches for places where both keywords appear together
OR Searches for either of the keywords. They might be together or they might not.
NOT Searches for places where the first keyword appears without the second.


  • Stress AND College
  • Indians NOT India
  • Pets AND Cats OR Dogs

Refining Your Search

When you perform a database search, often you will be given a lot of results -more than you could ever go through. When this happens, it's important to tell the database exactly what kind of resources your looking for by applying filters.

Filters (sometimes called limiters) help take away search results you don't want. You can filter by type and date.

Type - Each of these filters helps to make sure that the kinds of results your search gives you are appropriate for research.

  • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals - Limits results to only articles that have been reviewed by other experts (so we know we can trust it too).
  • Academic Journals - Limits results to only articles presenting research and findings.
  • Full Text - Limits results to only articles you can access right now. However, remember that the library can bring in journals we don't currently have from other libraries.

Date - These filters limit your results according to when they were published.

  • Limit results to the last 5 years - This ensures that you only see the most recent articles on your topic. You may continue to subtract years if your  results are still too large.

Example and Argument Databases

"Criticism" is an important part of finding EXAMPLE and even ARGUMENT resources. Critics not only describe the work, but attempt to evaluate it for historical/cultural significance. As a result, critical articles tend to be more specific and detailed.

Examples - The Author's Works

Sometimes locating examples of an author's work helps in the understanding of the author. Search the library for access to the author's work  such as their poetry, short story(s), or novel(s). In addition to our books and catalog, the following databases are useful in locating these sources.