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Library Research Guides

ENGWR 300+ - Professor Diaz (Spring 2020): Getting Started

What Should I Do on This Page?

When researching a topic that may be new or unfamiliar, one of the best things you can do is gather some background so you can develop a solid overview about your topic.

The library has a few databases that are especially useful for this part of the research process.  When you use these database, limit the keywords you use to search to 2-3 words (e.g. homelessness or transgender women violence).

After you watch each of the database videos below, practice applying what you learned from those videos in the individual databases

Remember, if you have any questions, you can:

  • Email us directly at: or (we'll email you back within 24 hours Mon - Fri).
  • Use the 24/7 Chat with a Librarian global service (staffed by an international team of librarians).
  • Call the Research Help Desk (916-484-8458) and leave a message.  A librarian will call you back within 24 hours (Mon - Fri).

Finding a Good Research Question

How to Use the Preliminary Research Databases - Videos

Databases for Preliminary & Contextual Research

The databases on this page are great resources to start with to do some preliminary and contextual research on your topic.  

TIP: The most effective way to use these particular databases is to begin with 1-3 keywords. 

TOPIC: Female and male athletes should receive equal pay for the sports they play

Good: equal pay sports

Not so good: female male athletes play sports equal pay

NOTE: Opposing Viewpoints (below) is a great database for argumentative essays.  Topics tend to have articles on the differing viewpoints.