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General Research Guide

This guide will help you start your research on most topics for your research paper or presentation.

Searching the Library Catalog - Searching Electronic Resources - Searching the Internet - Web Evaluation - Citing Your Sources


Searching the Library Catalog

To find a book, search the library's online catalog. The following are the various ways of searching the online catalog.

  • Basic Search: Allows you to search by Keyword, Author, Title, Call Number, and Library of Congress Subject Heading. Set limits if you are looking for books published in 2006 or after, electronic books, or video recordings.
  • Keyword Search: Searches the entire catalog record of the materials in the OCC Library collection. Remember to place phrases between quotation marks.
  • Subject Search: Searches the Library of Congress Subject Headings. A Subject Browse search will bring you to the subject heading index that you can browse.
  • Advanced Search: Allows you to search any word(s), phrase(s), and/or name(s) using drop down menus to select specific fields and search operators (AND, OR, NOT). Remember to set limits before you conduct your search.

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Searching Electronic Resources for Articles and eBooks

The OCC Library has many databases that contain a wide variety of magazine, journal, and newspaper articles, as well as ebooks, multimedia and more. It's important to select the correct database. A librarian can assist you with this task. This is a list of the most popular sources. You can find all of the databases that are available on the library's Periodicals and Electronic Resources page. If you are off campus, you will need to log on with your student ID and last name.

  • Britannica Online - Online encyclopedia with photos and more. Good for providing a general overview of your topic.
  • Academic OneFile - Database of magazine and journal articles, most of which are available in full-text. You may also limit your search to scholarly journals.
  • Academic Search Premier - Similar to Academic Onefile, but with different content. Database of magazine and journal articles, most of which are available in full-text. You may also limit your search to scholarly journals.
  • LexisNexis Academic - Lexis-Nexis Academic is a premier online source of local, national, and international news, business, legal, medical, and government information, mostly full-text and mostly from 1985 to the present.

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Searching the Internet for Web Sites

  • IPL2 - This site was developed by librarians as a reliable and efficient guide to Internet resources. This site is a searchable, annotated subject directory of more than 14,000 Internet resources that have been selected and evaluated by librarians.
  • DMOZ Open Directory Project – This human-edited directory of the Web breaks the topics into sub-topics and also provides “see also” references.
  • Google Advanced Search - Instead of using Google's default search, try the advanced search. There are a lot of tools that will give you better results, such as a box that lets you limit your results to a domain such as .edu or .gov.

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Web Evaluation

Evaluating Web Sites - A quick and useful guide to help you evaluate the Web pages you find for purpose, authority, objectivity, relevance, currency, and responsibility.

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Citing Your Sources

  • Purdue OWL: Research and Citation Resources – A thorough guide to basic research and citing your sources using MLA, APA, and other formats. From Purdue University's online writing lab.
  • Guides to Cite It! – Provides style guides for APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, and others. From the University of Georgia Libraries.

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(jk 4/07, updated lc 05/12)