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ENGL 1301 - Argumentative/Persuasive Research: Supporting Your Argument

Gray Library Catalog

Searching the Catalog

Our catalog is located on our main webpage:

Search for words and phrases related to your research topic. Depending on how broad or narrow your topic is, use different searches for better results. Choose the different searches from the pull-down list beside the search box.


  • Use subject for broad topics such as gun control or inorganic chemistry. A subject search produces a list of subject headings and subheadings. You can use the previous and next buttons to browse up and down the list of headings.

Subject keyword

  • Use subject keyword to search for one or two terms—especially if one term is geographical or historical—such as gun control europe or 17th century literature. A subject keyword search matches your terms against subject headings and sub-headings.


  • Use keyword to search for topics with several search terms or those that overlap subject areas.

The subject searches focus on subject headings. Keyword matches terms against titles, authors, subjects, table of contents, and other information. Keyword is looser than the subject searches but it will work for terms not found in the subject headings.

You can also use operators with the keyword search.

If a book has online in the call number and electronic resource noted in the title, it is an e-book. Each e-book has a URL link near the right side of the screen. That link will take you to the e-book.

E-books are duplications of printed books, so the content is consistent page-by-page with the print edition.

Finding Supporting Information

Your argument will not be effective without solid research to support your points.  One of the most powerful ways to support your arguments is by using scholarly books and articles found in either the library catalog or databases.  The library's research databases provide access to thousands of articles (many full text) on a variety of topics.  The following are the most recommend databases for finding supporting evidence:

Academic Search Complete - Comprehensive scholarly, database, with more thousands of full-text periodicals covering a wide variety of subject areas.

Research Library - Provides access to a wide range of popular academic subjects featuring a diverse, highly-respected mix of scholarly journals.

Student Resource Center College Edition - Contains thousands of biographies, topical and overview essays, images, primary source documents, and audio and video files. Also includes full-text coverage from more than 1,250 magazines and newspapers that are updated daily. 

America's Newspapers Database - A full text database proviing students with access to newspaper articles from around the country.

Points of View Reference Center - A full text database designed to provide students and schools with a series of controversial essays that present multiple sides of a current issue.

These are all excellent options because they cover a wide variety of subject areas.  If you are looking for information in a particular subject and are not finding what you need in any of the above databases, you might want to try one of our subject specific databases.

Popular vs. Scholarly Articles

Often your instructor will require "Scholarly" or "Peer-Reviewed" articles for your assignment.  These are articles written for a college level audience and deal with topics in much greater detail than articles found in "Popular" magazines.  The following general characteristics will help you determine whether or not an article is "Scholarly" or "Peer-Reviewed":


Popular Magazine



Written for a general audience

Written for a college level audience

Written by professional journalists who may or may not be experts on the topic written about

Written by an expert or group of experts in a particular area of study

Usually content is reviewed by a single editor who may or may not be an expert on the topic

Often reviewed by fellow experts to ensure quality of scholarship (Peer-Reviewed)

Author’s credentials may or may not be listed

Author’s credentials are usually clearly listed

Rarely includes footnotes or citations

Typically includes footnotes and/or cited references

Written at an 8th grade level

Scholarly Language/Technical Jargon

Wide range of topics covered

Narrow focus

Often contains advertisements and many images

Typically no advertisements or photographs

Widely available at newsstands and bookstores

Usually only available by subscription

Examples: Time, Newsweek, People, Rolling Stone

Examples:  American Journal of Political Science, Business History Review, Journal of American History, Journal of Applied Psychology

When in doubt, it is always best to check with your instructor or a librarian.

Many databases allow you to limit your search to "Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed" Journals.  Often this option can be found to the side of your search results or on the advanced search screen.  Be on the lookout for this option when you are searching in databases! 

Here is an example of the limit option from Academic Search Complete

How to Read Call Numbers


Website which contain useful factual and/or statistical information

Citation Guides

Use theMLA style guide to help format your works cited in the correct Citation Style: