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WRIT 150: Databases

Identity and Diversity in American Contexts


Once you have identified your topic and research question, generate a list of words that are related to your topic:

Use AND, OR, NOT to connect your phrases/keywords

to locate both morality AND norms

to locate either word discourse OR commentary

NOT will retrieve the first word, debate NOT argument

 Keywords and phrases for violence: violence, brutality

Keywords and phrases for minorities: Blacks, African Americans, Mexicans, Chicanos, Latinos

Keywords and phrases for video games: electronic games, electronic toys, video games, games

Sample keyword searches for a database:

violence and civil unrest and minorities

Evaluating Sources

In the research process, evaluating sources is vital.Consider the following questions in order to effectively evaluate and gain a more critical understanding of your sources.

Author Authority  
Who created the item?  What is his or her affiliation?  What is his or her relationship to the information contained in the source?

Audience and Purpose
Who is the intended audience?  Why was the item created?

Accuracy and Completeness
Is the evidence reliable?  Are the important points covered?  How does the source compare to other similar sources?  What may have been left out?

Footnotes and Documentation
Are the author's sources in secondary and reference literature clearly identified with complete citations to allow you to find the original source yourself?

Perspective and Bias
How do the author's bias and perspective inform the arguments and evidence presented?

Adapted from NYU's Primary Sources LibGuide and The Information-Literate Historian by Jenny L. Presnell (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2007).

Research Databases

Here are a few databases to begin your research:

Legal Research

Looking for case law, landmark cases or any other legal resources try the following resources:

Gender,Race, & Ethnicity