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English Composition I - Professor Kennedy: Course Research Guide

Subject Guide

Student Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this class, the successful student will be able to:

  • differentiate between academic and newspaper articles.
  • construct and implement an appropriate search strategy.
  • locate current newspaper and academic articles in appropriate library databases.
  • identify tools to assist in citing references.

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Welcome! To get started, check out these instructional videos:


Use OneSearch to locate books, newspaper articles, magazine articles, and academic journal articles.

"social media" AND "self esteem" search in OneSearch

Sort your search results to the date range (last five years) and by source type to find what you need.

screenshot of OneSearch results

About Academic Journal Articles

Academic Journal Title - Journal of Research in Childhood Education CoverScreen shot of academic article, Me and My 400 Friends.Screen Shot of References Page


Academic journal articles are often identified by:

- Multiple authors - Academic affiliation of the authors (school they work for) - Abstract included (short summary of the article)
- Black and white - Few or no advertisements - Charts and graphs
- Extensive references/works cited - Lots of jargon or discipline specific language - Meant for professionals



Confused? 1.5 minute YouTube video from the University of Cincinnati about how to identify an academic article.

This chart will also help you figure out whether you are looking at a magazine article or an academic journal article.

Some (but not all) academic articles undergo a peer-review process. This means that before an article is published, a panel of experts in the field review the article and ensure it has the highest quality.

Find an academic article from the database Academic Search Complete

  1. Enter your search terms. In this example, I am interested in articles that discuss the impact of Facebook on the self esteem of college students. If I find too many articles, I may want to focus further, or narrow my search, by adding a fourth search term (example: female). If I don't find any articles, I may want to broaden my search by being less specific (example: instead of searching for Facebook, I can search for social media).
  2. Limit your results to FULL TEXT by checking the box.
  3. To limit to academic journals, you can check the box for Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) journals.
  4. Limit by year (last five years).

Screenshot advanced Academic Search Complete


Find an academic article from the database Academic OneFile

  1. Select "Advanced Search" from the toolbar.
  2. Enter your search terms.
  3. Limit to FULL TEXT.
  4. To limit to academic journals, you can check the box for peer-reviewed publications. 
  5. Limit by year (last five years).

Screenshot advanced Academic OneFile


About Newspaper Articles


Image of an old issue of the New York Times
  • Meant for the general public
  • Many short articles
  • Authors are journalists
  • Advertisements
  • Meant to inform about current events
  • Simple language
  • No references


Find a newspaper article from US Major Dailies

  1. Enter your search terms.
  2. Check the box next to Limit to: Full Text.
  3. Set the publication date for a specific date range.
  4. Search.
  5. Click on any of the articles on your results screen. Scroll to the very end of the article for a word count (must be longer than 500 words).

Screenshot Advanced US Major Dailies SearchScroll to the end of an article to view the word count.


Not finding what you need in US Major Dailies? Try our other newspaper databases.

Website Evaluation

When you visit websites (as opposed to library databases), you will be responsible for evaluating the information you find and determining whether or not the information is credible. Try using the CRAP Test to look at the currency (date published), reliability (balanced? biased?), authority (why is the author qualified to write about this?), and purpose (are they selling you something? .org/.edu or .com?).

Citation Help

Librarians from Genesee Community College explain what MLA formatting is and how to put together a citation for a book.


Librarians from Genesee Community College explain how to format MLA8 citations for articles you find in library databases.