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How can you reach a librarian for help with your research?

  • in person at the Information/Reference Desk
  • by telephone during library hours (623.845.3112)
  • by 'live chat' via the Ask a Librarian service
  • by appointment via the Reference Consultation service in order to discuss your research assignment in detail with a librarian 

LMC GUIDE: Library Research is a brief guide to the research process from selecting a topic to citing your sources and includes typical resources you may want to use.

Topic Selection Sites

The library subscribes to three databases that discuss CONTEMPORARY ISSUES. These databases have print counterparts that are housed on the index table behind the Information/Reference desk.

  • CQ Researcher - an online version of a popular resource for a wide range of contemporary issues. This database covers the period from 1991 to the present.
  • Gale Opposing Viewpoints - contains essays on many contemporary topics.
  • Issues and Controversies - (Facts on File). This database provide current, in-depth, and objective information on contemporary issues. Coverage begins in 1995.
  • Contemporary Issues Resources - From the LMC book collection.
Listed below are some web sites that can help you generate ideas for topics and link you to relevant web sites.
  • Almanac of Policy Issues - "The Almanac of Policy Issues provides comprehensive background information and links on major U.S. public policy issues. The Almanac is an independent public service not affiliated with any particular issue or cause. Every effort is made to present all sides of each issue, and to do so in an unbiased, journalistic format." [from the site]
  • American Civil Liberties Union - for issues involving civil and constitutional rights.
  • The Drudge Report - editorials from leading columnists on current topics and more.
  • Government Accountability Office (formerly General Accounting Office) (GAO) reports.
  • Idea Generator - (from Old Dominion University) - just lists of topic ideas, no links to any information.
  • Online NewsHour - information on contemporary issues from PBS's NewsHour (online transcripts of interviews and background reports).
  • Public Agenda Online - non-partisan public opinion and policy analysis for a broad range of issues.
  • Rand Corporation reports - "think tank" reports that are available electronically.
  • ResourceShelf's DocuTicker - links to reports from government agencies, NGOs, think tanks and other organizations.

Virtual Reference Desks

These links to electronic "reference desks" will help you locate sites and information.

  • Gale Virtual Reference Library provides access to popular Gale specialized encyclopedias and resources, such as Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations, Encyclopedia of World Biography, World Education Encyclopedia, Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law, Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. See a list.
  • Credo Reference provides full-text access to online encyclopedias and other reference sources.
  • Oxford Reference Online provides access to 100 key Oxford dictionaries and reference works. It provides comprehensive coverage of over 20 broad subject areas.
  • The Internet Public Library
  • LibrarySpot
  • Library Research - suggestions for locating ideas, researching a topic, and citing your sources

General Reference Sources



The library guide Specialized Encyclopedias lists some of library's encyclopedias that are devoted to special topics. Call numbers are included so you can locate them in the Reference Collection.




Literature Criticism Full-Text Resources

  • Literature Resource Center From the vendor: "Resource Center provides access to biographies, bibliographies, and critical analyses of authors from every age and literary discipline. Combining Gale Group's core literary databases in a single online service, the Literature Resource Center covers more than 120,000 novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, and other writers, with in-depth coverage of 2,500 of the most-studied authors."

  • Literary Reference Center.Provides information on thousands of authors and their works across literary disciplines and time frames. Includes biographies, criticisms, summaries, and more.

  • Poetry & Short Story Reference Center.Poetry & Short Story Reference Center provides a robust collection of poetry and short stories to enhance your librarys literary collection.

  • Salem Literature.Includes access literary criticism and overviews via Critical Insights, Critical Surveys, Magill's Literary Annuals, and Masterplots publications.

  • Pathfinders to literary resources - reference and circulating books, periodical articles, database sources, etc. - can help you quickly find relevant critical resources in our library.

Writing Assistance

Citation formats

Quick guides to MLA and APA formats prepared by the Library Media Center (pdf files).

Others you may want to consult:

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Last modified: Monday February 05 2018