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Research Guides   Tags: information, mla, non-scholarly, scholarly  

Use the Research Guide for step-by-step research help including suggested resources, search strategies, help using databases & the catalog, tips for analyzing resources, and links to citation resources.
Last Updated: Jul 24, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Research Guides Print Page

Citation Tools

Note: To save your citations for future use, you must create an individual (free) account in each of the citation programs listed below.

  • EasyBib
    EasyBib is an automatic bibliography and citation composer. When you have sources you need to cite properly for your research papers and projects, EasyBib will help you format your sources quickly and accurately.

Useful Links

  • Find Books & More
    The online catalog includes books, eBooks, eAudiobooks, films, and more.
  • Find Articles
    A-Z list of databases, or use Databases by Subject tab to choose an appropriate resource.
  • Subject Guides
    Subject guides provide a great starting point for your research. Find suggested reference resources, databases, Web sites, and search strategies.
  • NoodleTools
    NoodleTools can help you organize research, synthesize information, and format a bibliography in MLA or APA style.
  • MLA & APA Citation Guide
    Guide to formatting manuscripts and bibliographies in MLA & APA styles.
  • PSCC Academic Support Center
    Free help from faculty and professional tutors in all subject areas.

Additional Resources

The library has many books and ebooks available for additional research help. See the links below for a list in the online catalog.


About Research Guides

Research Guides can help you through all stages of the research process:

  • Beginning Research 
          Choosing a topic 
          Identifying keywords
  • Resource Types 
          Selecting the best type of resource for your research
  • Search Strategies 
          Basic and advanced searching in the library catalog and databases
          Using Library of Congress call numbers to find library materials
  • Analyzing Information Resources 
          Identifying quality sources 
          Scholarly vs. non-scholarly publications
  • Citing Sources 
          When to cite 
          How to cite 
          Online citation tools  

Quick Guide: Research Step by Step

The following six steps outline a simple and effective strategy for finding information for a research paper, and documenting the sources you find. Depending on your topic and familiarity with the library, you will rearrange or repeat these steps. For some subjects, books may be sufficient; for others periodical articles will be best. Adapt this outline to your needs.

State your topic as a question. For example, if you are interested in finding out about the use of alcoholic beverages by college students, you might pose the question, "What effect does the use of alcoholic beverages have on the health of college students?" Identify the main concepts or keywords in your question.
Look up your keywords in encyclopedias and dictionaries (Credo Reference, Oxford Reference Premium). Read articles in subject and general encyclopedias (Encyclopedia Britannica, Credo ReferenceOxford Digital Reference Shelf) to set the context for your research. Note any relevant items in the bibliographies at the end of the articles. Additional background information may be found in your lecture notes, textbooks, and reserve readings.
3. FIND BOOKS IN THE PELLISSIPPI ONLINE CATALOG or in EBSCO ebook and ebrary ebook collections
The Pellissippi Online Catalog searches both print books and E-books (electronic books that are available online from any computer). If you are only interested in E-books you may search  EBSCO eBooks (formerly NetLibrary) and or  ebrary  directly. Use keyword searching for a narrow or complex search topic. Use subject searching for a broad subject. Print or write down the citation (author, title, etc.) and the location information (call number and location code). If the book is located at another campus, make arrangements to go to that campus or talk to the librarian to arrange an intercampus loan. Note if the book is a print book or an e-book. For print books note the items the circulation status.

When you pull the book from the shelf, scan the bibliography for additional sources, and watch for book-length bibliographies and annual reviews on your subject; they list citations to hundreds of books and articles in one subject area. Scan the books near the one you selected; these may also be relevant to your topic.
Use periodical databases to find citations to articles. Choose the periodical database best suited to your topic. Use the Library's federated search engine  PSLibSearch  to search many library databases at once. Use Academic OneFile database for general searches. It indexes more than 2000 periodicals with full-text coverage of over 1000 publications. Choose “more search options” if you want to limit you search to full-text publications which may be printed from your computer.

Use Subject Guides or Databases by Subject to locate indexes and abstracts for information in specific research areas. Print out, save to disk or write citations. If the article is not full text, use the citation information to locate the periodical you want by looking up the title of the periodical in the Pellissippi Library Online Catalog for holdings information.

See "How to Critically Analyze Information Sources," and "Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals" for suggestions on evaluating the authority and quality of the information you located. If you found too many or too few sources, you may need to narrow or broaden your topic. Check with a reference librarian or your instructor.


Consult the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (REF LB 2369 .G53 2009), or the
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (REF BF 76.7 P83 2010). These guides show how to format citations.

Or use NoodleTools, an online application that guides the user through the citation format process for MLA, APA and Chicago citations. Click on the "Create Works Cited" link and NoodleTools will create a works cited page in MS Word of citations entered. It also assists in the writing process with its note card application.

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Research Tips

Give yourself time to make mistakes and/or locate material that may not be immediately available.

Find background information first, then use more specific and recent sources.

Write out a complete citation for each source.

Ask for help at the reference desk, or contact a librarian with Ask-A-Librarian.


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