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ENGL 1301 - Comp 1 - Argumentative/Persuasive Research


Search the Gray Library Catalog for Books and Videos


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.

Website which contain useful factual and/or statistical information

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

Video Tutorials - Books