Research Guide: Researching an Argument

This guide will help you research and find evidence to support an argument.

Where should I look?

Using the databases

The tool that will help you find articles on your topic is a database. A database helps you locate the articles that they house, or store. The library subscribes to many publications - newspapers, magazines, journals - and the articles from these sources are all stored in and searchable inside the databases. These are the ones we recommended starting with:

Searching a subject database

You can also browse a list of all our databases sorted by subject. Sometimes looking in a specialized topic database can be a great way to locate recent research on your issue.

Advanced searching

Using the advanced search options

Using the Advanced Search feature in a database allows you to use more than one keyword(search term) in order to get more relevant search results. The image below shows an example search in Academic Search Complete. While the overall look of a database page might look different, it's this multiple search box option that is the best for combining simple search terms

(click on image to enlarge)

screenshot of the advanced search option of academic Search, showing the word "pollution" in the first search box, and "plastics" in the second as an example of how to combine simple keywords

The databases will also allow you to limit your results. Often you will see many options below the multiple search boxes, but you can also always limit using the menu that appears (most often on the left -hand side as shown in the image below).

Here you can see that you can limit by Full-text - selecting this is always suggested if you need to find only articles that you can immediately download.  Other common ways to limit are by date or publication type under "Source Types"

(click on image below)

Screenshot of the results page of a search in the ASP database. It highlights the "full-text" box on the left and the others ways you can limit, such as by date or by publication type

Need more help with searching?

Getting more help

The research process can be confusing! If you need more help making sense of searching the databases, identifying scholarly or popular sources, or understanding the peer-reviewed process and how to limit to those kinds of scholarly articles, consider the guides below.