ENGL 101 English Composition 1 (Theme: Mental Health)

Research your Topic

Holman Library Academic Reference (aka Encyclopedia) Collections

Academic Encyclopedias are a good place to find TOPIC INTRODUCTIONS & OVERVIEWS, KEY CONCEPTS & TERMINOLOGY, ideas on how to FOCUS a broad topic, and LEADS to addtional sources. 

For reference sources, try general search terms. As always, experiment to see what works best! And keep in mind, that different articles will take different approaches to the issue and cover different aspects of it. For example, the topic of anxiety may be approached from medical perspectives, family, psychology, race, gender, socioeconomics, education, and more.

Sample Search in Gale eBooks: 

  1. I started my search with the keyword "depression" in Gale ebooks
  2. The database suggested "anxiety and depression," so I tried that.
  3. I selected the article called "Depression" from the Anxiety Disorders Handbook. 
  4. In the excerpt below, I have highlighted keywords that not only provide me with information, but also give me ideas on directions I might take my research. For example, I could research depression AND causes, or depression AND treatment, or depression AND therapy... 

Depression article excerpt


News Media in Print & Multimedia

Read/ listen to/ Watch news media for reporting, analysis, and commentary on current issues. 

Where needed use limiters for magazines and newspapers to find journalism, and be sure to limit to current enough sources. 

Holman Library Resources

Sample News Sources On the Web

Sample source: 

Holman Library Print & E-Books, Educational Video

Find great info on a range of topics in Holman Library's book and educational video collections. 

Use the One Search Catalog to search for both. You can also search directly in our streaming video collection Films on Demand or in our ebook collections. Note that you can read and cite just a chapter, rather than an entire book.

Sample Search

What should you type in?

Use KEYWORDS or SUBJECT TERMS that capture what you want to learn about.

For example, if I'm interested in the impact of trauma on learning or the relationship between the two, I can search for trauma AND learning.

trauma AND learning

How do you decide what to look at or what's useful?

My search of trauma and learning returned over 500 books, book chapters, and videos. 

Scroll through the results list. Look at titles. What looks relevant? 

To learn more about a title, click on it and read the "record" with a description, table of contents, and subject headings. 

The images below show my search results and the record for the book Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools.


results- trauma and learning

Book Record:



Find Current Opinion on your Topic

Start with One Search:

  • Limit to peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles to find scholarly articles. By the way, be sure to still assess if it's a scholarly article. (For example, scholarly journals contain book reviews of scholarly texts. These are not scholarly articles.)

  • To find the most relevant articles, you will need to consider many more. Try multiple keywords and search different databases.

  • Focus primarily on the introduction and discussion/conclusion sections of a scholarly article. That's where they will layout where the scholarship in the field stands, what the article will set out to do, and what the authors learned.
  • Books can be scholarly too. Assess.
Sample Search: 

College Students AND mental health

college students AND mental health

Sample Scholarly article

Important Search Tips

Why Source Type Matters

Different information sources teach you different things. Consider: 

Reference: for an introduction & for information from different academic perspectives

News media: for current news reporting & analysis of current issues

Books & videos: for a range of approaches to the subject, including case studies, memoir, journalism, and research

The Web: for some information sources not in library databases or on library shelves, including government websites, organizations, some news sources, and more

Opinion: for a range of arguments on your topics, many from those with lived experience or working in the field

Scholarship: for research and theoretical analysis

Effective Keyword Searching

Source: "Searching Databases with Keywords" by lehmanlibrary , is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.