University Library & Learning Resources Center

ENG 129: English Composition
Ms. Gillis

Reference Sources Articles Books World Wide Web Citing Your Sources Your Comments

The purpose of this course research guide is to acquaint you with some of the resources in the University Library and on the World Wide Web useful for doing research on your paper topic. Should you have questions, stop by the Reference Desk on the first floor. You may also call the Reference Desk at (334) 229-4110 during the hours the Library is open.


Reference Sources

Sources in the Library's Reference Collection and similar sources online are a great place to start your research. They'll provide background information on your topic and can help you find brief factual information quickly. As you explore these sources, write down words that describe your topic. You'll be able to use these later when you search for articles and books. Also write down the names of people and organizations related to your topic.

Subject Encyclopedias

Subject encyclopedias focus on specific subject areas. Below are a few examples of these encyclopedias. Ask at the Main Reference Desk on the first floor for assistance with finding a subject encyclopedia that is appropriate for your paper topic.

  • Encyclopedia of Gun Control and Gun Rights
    KF 3941 .A68 U88 2000
  • Encyclopedia of Smoking and Tobacco
    HV 5760 .H57 1999
  • Women's Issues
    HQ 1115. W66 1997
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World
    DS 35.53 .O95 1995
  • Encyclopedia of Science and Technology
    Available in the Access Science (ASU) database.
  • The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine
    Click on Medical Encyclopedia in the Health & Wellness Resource Center (ASU) database.

CQ Researcher

Each CQ Researcher (ASU) report focuses on a single topic related to social, economic, political, health, or environmental issues. They provide a chronological overview and detail recent developments and opposing viewpoints. Each includes a bibliography that can lead you to other sources of information on your topic.

top of page


Magazine, Journal, & Newspaper Articles

The best method for finding magazine, journal, and newspaper articles is to use one of the Library's online article databases. These are now easily accessible in the residence halls and off campus by clicking on the database name and typing in the information requested. If you need additional assistance with accessing the databases, contact Cedric Davis (334 229-6998) or Randy Curtis (334 229-5604).

Try searching in these databases for your articles.

While you'll find the text of many articles in these databases, some articles are not full text. If the text of an article is not available in the database you are searching, first check for the magazine, journal, or newspaper title in:

If you don't find it listed in Serials Solutions, check HORNetCat, the Library's online catalog. Type in the title of the magazine, journal, or newspaper title and click on Journal Title in the Find Results in box.

  • HORNetCat - Is it available in the Serials Department on the Library's third floor?

top of page



Because of their length, books provide a more in-depth look at topics than articles do.

top of page


World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is an outstanding but often bewildering source of information. Not everything you find will be authoritative, accurate, and valid. Try searching one of these to find more reliable Web sites.

top of page


Citing Your Sources

A copy of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is available at the Main Reference Desk on the first floor of the Library. You can also use Citation Machine an interactive Web tool designed to assist you with modeling cited information in the proper format.

top of page


Your Comments

Please take a few minutes to let us know what you think about this guide. Has it helped with your research? Do you have any suggestions for improving the guide? You may e-mail Marsha Taylor ( or call her at (334) 229-6839 with your comments and suggestions.

top of page


Course Research Guides | Information Literacy Program

Alabama State University | University Library & Learning Resources Center

Alabama State University
University Library & Learning Resources Center
Revised by: Marsha V. Taylor, Information Literacy Librarian
All contents copyright 2005, ASU. All rights reserved.
October 18, 2005