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WP 115 Food for Thought: Research

Fall 2020. Course Instructor: Bess Stokes

Find Articles in Databases

Library Databases provide access to both popular and scholarly publications that are often not freely available on the open web.

General, interdisciplinary databases:

Look for an option to Choose Databases or Change Databases on your results page.

Select all. Check the database limiter to see which database is most useful for your topic.

There's no need to limit your results to  FULL-TEXT. An article not available at Colby, can often be obtained in a matter of hours.  Find out more on the ILLiad guide.

Find a Specific Magazine or Newspaper

Want to see if Colby has access to a particular magazine or journal?  On the Colby Libraries home page click on the "Journals and Articles" tab.  

Once the orange bar has moved down, enter the publication's name in the search box.

Scholarly Journals?

Articles in scholarly journals are particularly important to academic research. They:

  • are written by and for scholars
  • contain original research in a specific discipline
  • include extensive citations
  • typically contain peer-reviewed articles

Check with your instructor to see if peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals are required.

If needed, look for ways in databases to filter your search.


OneSearch searches multiple library resources at once. Use only for very precise searches:

  • Finding a specific article from a citation
  • Finding information on lesser-known authors
  • Finding book chapters
  • Finding book reviews

For best results, use limiters. 

Image: Penne Pasta with Kale & Sun-Dried Tomatoes by Jennifer

Tips for Searching Library Resources


An ASTERISK stands in for different word endings:  critic* = criticism, critic, critics, critical)

QUOTATION MARKS  "glue together" a phrase: "food additives"

AND used between terms narrows results to items containing both terms: restaurant AND critic*

OR used between items (within parentheses) widens results to items containing any one of the terms:  (locavore* OR localvore* OR "local food movement")

SEARCH FOR NEW SEARCH TERMS. Library resources will only find the exact word entered.

Use keyword searches to find SUBJECT TERMS, which group material by topic.

Sample Subjects in CBBcat:

An Author Search (last name, first name) finds items BY AUTHORS.

A Subject Search of an author's name (last name, first name) finds items ABOUT AUTHORS.

Tips for Searching the Web

Library resources are the best places to get access to published material and to find scholarly material.

However, Google can be a useful tool if used wisely.

Add Identifying Terms - Most important with common names and words. E.g. John Smith Chef. Try searching a writer's social media handle.

Add Format Terms - Words and phrases that help to focus your search (blogs, zines, podcasts, the names of magazines).

Use the News Tab and refine by date using Tools < Recent

Use Advanced OneSearch to get free access to articles found on the web that are behind paywalls. Enter the title of the article using Title drop-down.

Search by the domains .edu or .gov. using Goggle Advanced Search. These results can be more reliable.

EVALUATE EXTREMELY CAREFULLY - Investigate every source by doing separate searches of source creators, authors and publications. Every source you interact with is a conversation. With whom are you talking? What are their values and motivations? Are they trustworthy? Are they getting their information from reliable sources and interpreting evidence fairly and  intelligently? Who is the intended audience?

Know the Limitations of Web Searching - Most scholarly articles are either not found by search engines or are behind paywalls. Information is sorted and ranked according to commercial/consumer/popular considerations. Information is not vetted for accuracy or reliability.

MLA Citation Help

Older editions of the MLA handbook are also available, but be careful, the citation style has changed.

MLA 7th Edition: Falk, Cynthia G. "'The Intolerable Ugliness Of New York': Architecture And Society In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence." American Studies 42.2 (2001): 19-43. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

MLA 8th Edition: Falk, Cynthia G. "'The Intolerable Ugliness Of New York': Architecture And Society In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence." American Studies, vol. 42, no. 2, 2001, pp. 19-43. EBSCO, Accessed 19 Jan. 2017.

Reference Sources

  • Provide helpful overviews
  • Help you identify search terms
  • Allow topic exploration

Photo: Book by Lalena Jaramillo

Find Books in CBBcat

SEARCH our library catalog 

Remote Learning:

Look for a small circular red E in the icons to the left of your results . These are online resources. (E-books, streams, digital documents.)

Or use the drop-downs on the CBBcat search page, for a more precise search.

On Campus:

If you're on campus, there is still access to the Miller Library bookstacks. You can order books from Bixler, Olin, the Annex, Bates and Bowdoin by clicking CBB Request in an item record.

Use your student ID (name from front of card, the bar code number from back of card omting the letters). You will be notified when the books are available for pickup at Miller.

Course Librarian

Laine Thielstrom's picture
Laine Thielstrom

Contact me by email or chat (send me a Google Hangouts invite). Or let's talk about your research or information need on Google Meet or Zoom!
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