ENGL 235 Introduction to Technical Communication (Milian)

For students in Patrick Milian's English 235

Create a Research Dossier on your Current Issue

Research your Social Issue

Learn about the facts, debates, stakeholders, history, stats, and stories on your issue.

That requires research. Tabs on this page take you to different information types to help you find info.

Trade/ Professional Publications

Find the Professional Conversation in Trade/ Professional Publications.

Every field has its professional literature! Find currents news, reports on trends, and research briefs.

Limit to TRADE in library databases to find professional magazines in business and other fields.

  • Note: The One Search does not have a filter for Trade Journals.
Step 1: Type in your search. 
  • Use OR to search for synonyms or related words.
  • Use AND to narrow and focus.
  • Use truncation ( * ) to search forms of a root word.
  • Example: unhoused OR homeless* AND housing OR shelter OR apartments

search: unhoused OR homeless* AND housing OR shelter OR apartments

Step 2: Limit to Trade

limit to trade

Books and Book Chapters

To search only for books and book chapters:

  • either limit to books and book chapters at Source Type
  • OR select Advanced Search and limit to books only.

A basic search returns a range of information types. Note the book, reference entry and article on social media in the image below.

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search page, showing how to limit as outlined in the text above.

Picking the Right Book

To help you select a book from the results list, click on a title to learn more about a book. Look for the following:

  • Date published: Is it current enough? For example, books on global warming from the 1990s are not current enough!

  • Description and/or Contents: This section indicates what a book is about, which helps you determine if the book is relevant. Often you can even see the chapters listed out, which can also tell you more about the book's contents. You can also tell if the book is a collection of essays. Essays may be useful for short writing assignments.

  • Subjects: Are the Subjects of the book on your topic? These subjects are how the catalog organizes and searches for content. Trying clicking on a relevant one to find other possibly useful titles!

  • Availability: If the book is in print, is it available? If you are taking an online class, is this an e-book? Look at the information on the record to learn more. 

Try locating the sections (listed above) on the images below: 

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catalog results

And when you scroll further down in the record, you'll see more info about the item:

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search results showing contents

Tip: If you get a long list of books, try adding an additional keyword to focus your topic.

Finding Books in the Library

So you've looked up a book in the library's catalog, but now what? How do you find it? 

Here's what you need to know. After searching in the library's catalog, you will see a results page like the one in the image below. Under the title of the book, you'll see more information.

More specifically...

  • You'll see a location and call number like this: Available at Holman Library Main Collection 363.738 C639 2011
  • Just write down this location and number. It's the Call number or address for the book on the shelves


  • If the book is an online, or ebook, you'll see a link to "view online"
    • Just click the link and sign in with your student info, if prompted, and you'll be taken to the ebook in a database

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screenshot of the catalog search, showing where to look for the call number to locate print books

Each shelf in the library has a set of call numbers so you can take the number you wrote down from the catalog and use it to locate the print book. Stop by the reference desk and get help from a librarian; we're happy to help you find books in the library! 

browser search bar with http://www. in it

Image Source: "Internet1" by Rock1997 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Why Use the Web?

The web is a great resource for:
  • Government information
  • International sources
  • Up-to-the-minute news
  • Local resources
  • Organizations involved in an issue
  • Statistics
  • Opinion
  • Images and video
  • and much more


Why Use Scholarly Literature? 

  • written by scholars and subject experts
  • written for other scholars and also read by student researchers
  • dedicated to a specific discipline, like sociology, history, women's studies, etc.
  • often have original research
  • long articles, often 5-15 pages or more, engage with issues at a more substantial level than magazine articles
  • articles almost always include an extensive list of sources at the end (Works Cited, References, Sources, or Bibliography) and comprehensive in-text citations for all claims made in the body of the article
  • published by organizations or associations to advance the body of knowledge

Finding Scholarly Journal Articles in Library Databases

When searching for articles in library databases, you can limit your search to only scholarly journals. The screenshots of the databases shown below outline where you can limit by source type to find the type of article you need. Remember that academic articles and scholarly articles are the same thing; different databases use the different terms but you can know that they are the same!

Limiting to academic journals in Ebsco's Academic Search Complete database

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search results

Limiting to scholarly journals in ProQuest Combined Databases

Limiting in this database is very similar to other advanced searches in the library's databases. You can click to limit to full-text articles, to peer-reviewed articles, and you can use the built in Boolean tools (AND, OR, NOT) to change your search results and combine your simple keywords.

(Click on image to enlarge)

This image shows a screeshot of the database search page, showing how you can search by topic or keyword in the search boxes provided, and how you can then check a box to limit to full-text and to scholarly journals

Reference aka Academic Subject Encyclopedias

Why Use Reference? 

  • To gather background information that provides context, history and an oversight of issues related to your subject. 

  • To find definitions, concepts and specialized terminology.

  • To gather key words (or keywords) you can use to search for relevant source material on the subject.

  • To help you identify areas on which to focus and narrow a research area.

Using Reference Articles

Use reference articles to understand the general view of what is happening with an issue, who is involved, and why there is debate over it. 

You can use important words or ideas (see the highlighted words in the example below) as keywords to build more focused or related searches.

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GVRL Global Warming reference article

Find Editorials

Editorials are a great way to find reasoned opinions on current controversial topics. Use these specialized searches to find full-text editorials in the library's databases and on the Web.

  • In Opposing Viewpoints and other In Context databases, look for Viewpoint Essays 
  • In CQ Researcher, read the Pros/ Cons section
  • In News Databases, limit to Opinion, Editorial, and Commentary at Document Type

Find News Reporting, Analysis, and Opinion

Learn about current issues from credible news sources. 

News sources are "non-scholarly," but that does not mean they are bad sources. These are sources that are researched by journalists for the general public, rather than an academic or professional audience.

  • Unlike scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles, news sources generally cover current events and issues.
  • Editorials and Op-Eds even provide opinion.
  • Popular news sources are a good place to look if you want to see what has happened on an issue or what public opinion might be.
Holman Library Databases - Limit to Newspapers & Magazines:
Local News Media - Print and Online
Multimedia News, Reporting, and Analysis

Finding Resources: Consider Source Type & Purpose

Research Strategies:

Information is created for different purposes and audiences

Strategize finding the information you need by source type. That's why there are so many source tabs on this page.

  • Use CURRENT ISSUES DATABASES to find a range of resources on current issues, from the environment to social issues to science. This database is a useful place to browse for social enterprise needs and arguments on those issues. It also provides some resources on select current issues.
  • Use REFERENCE SOURCES to find introductory info - definitions, an overview of the issues and debates, history, terminology (useful for subsequent searches!), and more.
  • Use CURRENT NEWS MEDIA (newspapers, magazines, radio, podcasts, tv, documentaries) to find current reporting and analysis of your social issue.
  • Use PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINES to find current info for professionals in your business area, whether it's a tech field, healthcare, social services, or another field. All professions have their professional literature.
  • SCHOLARSHIP will have detailed research and analysis.
  • WEB SOURCES will be useful to you for this project. The government can be a good source of statistics on current issues and businesses and non-profit organizations will be a good source of info on what's currently being done.