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ENGL 1A: Science, Ethics, and Society (Nanda): Where to Look for Information

Exercise 4

Now it's time for you to find some good sources for your presentation.  The idea is to explore different types of sources (depending on your specific topic, the amount of information you need, and the audience for your presentation).  You also need to evaluate these sources to make sure they are reliable.  

Once you have found two sources that look useful for your presentation, complete "Exercise 4: Finding and Evaluating Sources," which you will find in Module 4 in the Camino site for this course, to tell about the sources, how you found them, and what they will bring to your presentation.

To get an overview of your topic

If you just want to get an overview of your topic from different perspectives, or some background information, use the following databases, which provide access to online encyclopedias and reference sources.  

GALE eBooks

CREDO Reference

CQ Researcher

This database provides in-depth reports on the most important issues of today.  The reports include an overview of the topic, historical background, chronology, pro/con arguments, plus resources for additional research. 

CQ Researcher logo, and link to open the database

How to Cite your Sources in MLA Format

Use the following guide to cite your sources in MLA format:

MLA Handbook Citation Examples


To find books

To find books on your topic, use OSCAR, the library's online catalog.  Just enter a keyword or a phrase describing your topic.

For example:

OSCAR search for books on genetically engineered food

When you look at your results, be sure to check the LOCATION of the books you want to find. Many of our books are also available in electronic format. 

To find articles and more: OneSEARCH

You can find articles through a Google search, but the easiest way to find reliable articles on your topic is to use the library's OneSearch database.  OneSearch is a simple and fast search engine that allows you to search simultaneously for books, articles, and more.  It includes a large selection of the e-journals and databases the library subscribes to (but not all of them).  

How does one use OneSearch?

Screenshot of OneSearch search box, and link to library homepage
OneSearch is the default search box on the library homepage.  Enter keywords in the single search box just as you would in an internet search engine. It's not unusual for searches to return thousands of results, but you can narrow your search results using the options on the left side of your results screen, such as content type, subject, date, or language.

NOTE:  If you find an article in OneSearch and the full text is not available there as a PDF, click on  Find It @ SCU Libraries to see if it is available from a different source in the library's collection.


If you only want articles, try the following database:

Academic Search Complete

It's a multidisciplinary database that gives you access to articles on almost any topic.

Search Example:

Search screen in Academic Search Complete, with a sample search

Blogs and Social Media Posts

To keep very current on the topic of interest to you,  search Twitter or do a Google search to find blogs on the topic. 

Example:                   human cloning and blog


To find advocacy web sites on your topic

An advocacy web page is one sponsored by an organization attempting to influence public opinion (that is, one trying to sell ideas). The URL address of the page frequently ends in .org (organization).  Since cloning is such a controversial topic, you may want to look at some advocacy web sites to get different perspectives and opinions.  Always check what organization is responsible for the information on the page, and what its mission is.

To find advocacy web sites, just do an advanced Google Search, and limit your search by the domain .org

Here's an example of an advocacy web site:

Human Cloning Foundation




To find images you can use for your papers or presentations, try:

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons lets you find images that are copyright free, meaning that you can use them legally, as long as you provide attribution.