These slides contain tips for helping ELI students with research.
As you are working with students, feel free to contact
a librarian for additional guidance!
• Encourage students to do background research online,
or in databases like CQ Researcher or Opposing Viewpoints.
• Background research can help students identify key issues and major
terms related to their topics.
• Students might need to be encouraged to use background research
to narrow their research focus significantly.
• It is helpful to have a list of keywords prepared before searching
databases. Include synonyms and related terms for all facets of a
• ELI students usually need help with this process
(from tutors or librarians).
• If a student does start searching with a limited amount of keywords,
have them find an article or book record and look at the list of
related subjects. These terms can be added to their list of keywords,
and many of them are hyperlinked to bring you to a new list of
Choosing a Search Tool
• Students who are accustomed to using web search engines struggle
with the concept of selecting subject databases.
• No matter what topic they are researching, students can use DELCAT
Discovery, Web of Science, or Academic OneFile to find sources.
• If a student is doing subject-specific research, it can be helpful to
choose a database related to that discipline. You might try:
• Using the library’s Research Guides to help students select a
• Visiting the reference desk or using the chat service
• Contacting a librarian subject specialist for a recommendation
Constructing a Search
• Use quotation marks to search phrases: “social media”
• Use a search connector to link terms: “social media” AND elections
• These strategies will be effective no matter which search tool you use.
Evaluating and Selecting Sources
• Consider the type of publication
(newspaper, magazine, or scholarly journal article)
• Consider how the source relates to the research topic
• Books or book chapters can provide a more complete overview
of the subject
• Scholarly journal articles are usually about a very specific issue
or population. Students might need to pull out statistics or ideas
and apply them to their topic
• News and magazine articles will be more readable, but students
might need to be prompted to recognize that these are a
different type of source than scholarly journal articles