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Develop a Search Strategy Information for your paper may be found in a number of different places: books, newspapers, databases, websites, etc. Take a few minutes to think about what type of information you need and where you're likely to find it.

Most of you can do this already without really realizing it! You don't check the phone book for a movie review, or the newspaper for which courses will be offered at HVCC next semester. For really current topics, try the databases, which contain newspaper, journal, and magazine articles. For more in-depth background information try books. Don't rely too heavily on just one or two sources. If you use a variety you will be better able to support your thesis.

Important: Remember to keep a research log.

Here are links to some searching methods:  Truncation   Boolean Searching   Subject vs. Keyword Searching

Many students are confused about what a scholarly, or peer-reviewed, journal is when their professor requires one to be used. Here are some attributes of three kinds of periodicals that you'll find on the HVCC library databases that might make it more clear:

  • Popular magazines typically contain lots of advertising, use simple language and appeal to a broad audience.

  • Newspapers typically contain relatively short, very topical and date-sensitive (current) articles. Sometimes the sources are named, sometimes they are “anonymous”, and sometimes they are absent altogether.

  • Scholarly journals typically contain articles that are peer reviewed before publication, very little advertising, and cited sources to back up the research in the article.

  • All three of these types of periodicals are available through the research databases on the Marvin Library website at Depending on the intended use of the information, you may want to check the box that says “peer reviewed” or “scholarly journal”.