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IC Library Databases (Articles)

     There is no way to anticipate what topic a writer may choose or be assigned.  Below is a selection of databases that should be useful across a wide variety of subjects.  But if your topic clearly falls under a specific discipline (Anthropology, Environmental Science, Psychology, Sports, Television), also check for a more targeted Subject or Course Guide on the Library's home page

Comprehensive Databases

General OneFile

     General OneFile : is the most user-friendly of our comprehensive databases, covering almost any topic from a wide range of disciplinary angles and offering lots of full text.  Use the default Subject search to find the best subject heading for your topic (and when you find a good one be sure to look at the "Related Subjects" to see if there's something even better).
     When you settle on a subject heading, open the "Subdivisions" link below it.  Most General OneFile subject searches produce very large retrievals and the "subdivisions" help you narrow your search to a particular aspect: "Economic aspects," "Ethical aspects," "Forecasts and Trends," "History," "Media Coverage," "Political aspects," "Psychological aspects,"  "Social aspects," and "Statistics," to name only a few.
      If the best available subdivision is still too broad, open it and add your own Keywords in the "Search within these results" slot at the upper left.
     User Advisory: When first viewing your retrievals in General OneFile, note that you are seeing only the "Magazines" (popular articles) and must click on the tabs for "Academic Journals" (scholarly articles) or "News" (newspaper articles) to see those results.


     ProQuest Research Library : is another comprehensive database with substantial full text.  Use the "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to preview what Subject Headings are available.  Subect searching can be a more efficient way to search than with only Keywords, since it guarantees that the articles retrieved actually be about the Subject--not just use a particular word. 
     Note that to the right of your search results you can limit your retrieval by "Source Type" (including Magazines, Newspapers, Scholarly Journals),  "Document Type," (including Cover Story, Editorial, or Interview), "Document Feature" (including Photographs, Illustrations), and "Location."
     Above each set of articles you retrieve ProQuest will display related Subject searches to help either broaden or narrow your focus.
     User Advisory: ProQuest is fussy about entering Subject searches in the designated search slot. If your subject is a person, enter the name--last name first--in the "Person" slot; if a named group of any kind--Microsoft, the Catholic Church, Radiohead, the New York Mets--enter it in "Co/Org"; if a place enter it in "Location."

Academic Search Premiere

      Academic Search Premier  Comprehensive subject coverage with considerable full text.  Note that there is a “Subject Terms” link just above the search boxes, allowing you to search the index of Subject Headings--often a good first stop for more efficient Subject searching whereby you are guaranteed that your topic is indeed a main subject of the articles retrieved.
     A good initial strategy in this database is to search a likely topic in the Subject Terms and when you find it “explode” the term by double clicking it--this brings up a list of related Subject terms.  You can check as many terms as you like before "adding" them to your search by AND-ing or OR-ing them together.
     User Advisory: For any retrieved set of articles, there will be a box displayed on the left that will limit the articles to “Scholarly” journals—just check the box and click the “Update Results” button below.


      JSTOR : covers a wide range of scholarly journals in most disciplines, always beginning with the first issue of each one.  This provides 100% full text access to articles from not only the first half of the 20th century but even the second half of the 19th.  Be aware, however, that at the other end of the date range articles don't appear in JSTOR until at least 2-3 years after publication. Also be aware that for 100% full text you must change the setting from "include links to external content" to "include only content I can access."
     JSTOR offers only a Keyword search of its complete full text, so retrievals are large, but the relevancy ranking does a good job of putting the strongest matches on the first few pages.  This relevancy ranking does not weigh date, however, and will display a mix of articles written decades apart.  So if your topic is time sensitive, be alert to publication dates.
     User Advisory: The academic journals covered here feature numerous book reviews, so it's a good idea to tic the "Article" limit below the search slots so you won't be overwhelmed by book reviews on your topic.  
     Also note the "Date Range" limit, which in a database with an archive this deep can be very useful.

Project Muse

    Project Muse , although a smaller database, it complements JSTOR. LIke JSTOR it provides 100% full text of mostly scholarly journals, but its coverage is entirely current--mainly spanning the last 10-15 years.  Muse uses a "black box" search approach--you enter your search terms in one slot with no designated field options--but in addition to slapping in keywords, you can use the same Library of Congress Subject Headings that work in the Library catalog (see above under "Subject Searches").  This broad approach to searching tends to generate large retrievals, so it's best to be as specific as possible, but for an overview you might begin with "Blues (Music)."  And note--once you have a retrieval set, you can add more search terms by clicking "Modify Search" at the top.


   LexisNexis Academic  News:  Offering a keyword search of 100% full text from a vast number of national and international newspapers, this is an easy database to use poorly and a bit tricky to use well. In order not to be overwhelmed with articles in which your search terms are mentioned anywhere—first or last paragraph—or any number of times—once or ten times—use commands to target articles in which your topic words are mentioned early or mentioned often.
     Use the hlead command (headline and lead paragraphs) to target articles in which your topic words occur in the prime news-story position of headline or first paragraphs. For example: hlead(fracking and pollution) will retrieve just the articles in which the words “fracking” and “pollution” are used in the headline or first paragraphs. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses after hlead, with no space between.
     Use the altleast command to target articles in which your topic words occur a set number of times. For example: atleast5(“gay marriage”) will retrieve only the articles where this phrase is used at least 5 times—indicating that it must be a main topic. You can plug in any number after atleast—atleast3 or atleast7. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.

   LexisNexis Academic  Law Reviews: Offering a keyword search of 100% full text law reviews (publishers of scholarly articles on legal issues), this is an easy database to use poorly and a bit tricky to use well. In order not to be overwhelmed by articles in which your search terms are mentioned in passing but are not the prime focus, use the atleast command to target articles in which your topic words are required to appear at least a certain number of times. For example, atleast5(“gun control”) or atleast7(genes and patents) will retrieve only the articles in which those terms are used repeatedly. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.

New York Times Historical

     New York Times (1851-2009)  gives access to the full text of the New York Times 1851-2007. Click the "Continue" button and at the home page reset the default search of "citation and document text" to "citation and abstract" (since this is a Keyword search of 100% full text, you are likely to generate too many passing mentions of your search terms if you search all the text; first try the more focused "citation and abstract" search and only broaden it to "document text" if you retrieve too few hits).
     Use the "date range" limits to target the primary sources available here--contemporary/eyewitness reports. Without a date range limit you may retrieve hundreds of articles written decades after the events they discuss. For example, a search on "Lincoln" with a date range limit of 11/07/1860--11/10/1860 will target the Time's original coverage of the election of Abraham Lincoln.
     User Advisory: when searching for materials from earlier eras, be aware that language changes over time. For example, the term "African American" was not used prior to the 1970s, so when searching for articles on race relations in America prior to 1975, the terms "Negroes or Blacks" will be needed to retrieve relevant newspaper stories.

Discipline-Specific Databases


     PsycINFO :  The American Psychological Association use their own Subject vocabulary (called "Descriptors"), so a visit to the "Thesaurus" below the search slots is a good idea. If you find an article on exactly what you want, be sure to check the assigned "Descriptors" on the right of the citation for more ideas about useful search terms.  
     PsycINFO deals only with scholarly literature, much of it assuming a graduate-level understanding of the discipline.  But among these you may find interesting, accessible articles on your topic.  
     User Advisory: If what you're searching for are "journal articles only" in "English," it's a good idea to check those boxes (below the search slots).


     SocINDEX with Full Text : As the name implies, an excellent database for social issues. Click on the "Subject Terms" link above the search slots to find which Subject Headings will work here. Double click any Heading for a list of broader, narower, and related Subject Terms.  And note that you can check the boxes to select as many Headings as you like and then "add to search using or" and run the search--all without even retyping the terms back on the home page.


     ScienceDirect : Because it’s a large database with a great deal of full text, the absence of Subject searching means that your Keyword searches will often retrieve large sets of articles, many of which mention but don’t discuss your search term(s). One way around this is to limit your initial search to the “Abstract Title Keyword” field. Once you have found an article that sounds on-target, click the “Related Articles” link beneath the citation This will open a range of articles on the same topic.
     User Advisory: Don't settle for the default "Quick Search"--open "Search" for the full range of options. Among these you can uncheck "All books," which is recommended if you're looking for articles.  And if you open the "Dates" drop-down menu you'll find a much wider range of options than the default 10 year span.

CINAHL [Health Sciences]

     CINAHL  is a health literature database with excellent resources and a very helpful search interface--if you know how to approach it. Whatever your topic, first find the "CINAHL Headings" for it--the link is at the top left. When you've found the right heading--whether Alzheimer's Disease, Obesity, or Doping in Sports--click on "Explode" to the right for a list of subheadings--among them Diagnosis, Drug Therapy, Ethical Issues, Prevention, Prognosis, Risk factors, Therapy, and Transmission. By ticking any of these boxes you can add them to the main Subject search, which you can then run by clicking "Search Database" at the top right.

ATLA [Religion]

     ATLA religion database with ATLASerials : Our religion and theology database.  To browse the Subject Headings available here, click on "Indexes" above the search slots  and select "Subjects ALL"  from the drop-down menu.

ERIC [Education]

      ERIC (Ebsco interface) : A disciplinary database in Education—at all levels. The field of Education has its own set of Subject Headings so be sure to browse the “Thesaurus” (above the search slots) for the best "Descriptors." ERIC provides access not only to relevant journal literature (citations for these end in a number preceded by EJ—ERIC Journal), but also to research published directly to ERIC (citations for these end in a number preceded by ED—ERIC Document. 
     Education uses its own Subject Headings (Descriptors), so a useful first stop is the ERIC "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to see what Subject searches will work here. This is also a helpful exercise in that once you have found the appropriate Subject Heading you can "explode" it (double click) and generate a list of related Subject Headings. 
     Note:  Whatever Descriptors you find for your particular topic, you can focus on a particular level of education by selecting one from the "Educational Level" box below the search slots.

MLA International Bibliography

     MLA International Bibliography  provides the most complete and fully indexed coverage of articles and books on modern literatures, linguistics, folklore, rhetoric, and composition from 1925 to the present. There is ample full text provided by ProQuest, as well as links to full-text articles in JSTOR and Project Muse. Full text from other IC databases is also readily available via the "GetIt" links below article citations.
     Because books, book chapters/essays, and dissertations will usually not be available full text, you may wish to limit your search to "Journal article" under "Source type."
     "Author's Work" and "Author as Subject" will be especially helpful search fields at finding literary criticism. And for additional search field options either click on "Show more fields," or, for the complete list, open the drop-down menus to the right of the "Anywhere" default for the top three rows of search slots. This list includes both "Literary Influence"--who influenced a particular author you have entered--and "Literary Source"--who was influenced by that particular author.
     If you set up a free "My Research" account with Proquest (top right), you can save all the articles you check, all the searches you want to remember, and set up e-mail or RSS notification for any new articles that match your search terms.

International Bibliogrphy of Theatre & Dance

     International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance with Full Text : As in Literature Online, you may enter the title of individual plays as Subject searches--for example, Long Day's Journey Into Night.

Communication Source

     Communication Source : Use the Thesaurus above the search slots to browse available Subject Headings.  Once you find one, "explode" it by double clicking and scan all the related Headings. 

Business Source Premier

Business Source Premier (Special Business Interface) :
     Our largest database of newspaper, magazine and journal articles on all aspects of business and management. Notice the links for “SWOT Analyses,” “Company Profiles,” and “Industry Profiles” in the right-hand Browse box, as well as a Subjects button, where you can test which Subject headings will work for this database. Also notice all the business-specific Limits you can set if you open the “more options” link at the bottom of the search page: product name, industry code, ticker symbol.


     AnthroSource : A good deal of full text here, but the search options are crude. Open "Advanced" search for a little flexibility and hope for the best.

Philosopher's Index

    Philosopher's Index : No full text, but the “ArticleLinker” arrows at the end of each citation will connect to scholarly full text in our other databases--making this an efficient one-stop search.

Art Full Text

     Art Full Text : Take advantage of the Thesaurus of Subject Headings, where you can browse for the best descriptors for your topic and by double-clicking them view related Subject terms.

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature

     RILM Abstracts of Music Literature : Limit to Journal Articles in English below the search slots--if that's what you want.  And note that below you can browse for Subjects, Topics, or Instruments, which you may search by themselves or supplement with your own keywords.


     SPORTDiscus with Full Text : Note the Thesaurus above the search slots where you can browse for likely Subject Headings to use in a Subject search.  Also note that below the search slots you can limit retrievals by country and language in this international database, as well as by Publication Type--for instance, Journal Article.

Where's the Full Text for this Article??

     Few databases offer 100% full text.  Most retrieve a mix of full text articles and article "citations"--article title, author(s), publication info, and usually an "abstract" or one-prargraph summary of the content.  When a citation makes you want the full text, look below it for this icon: 
     Clicking "GETIT" checks (almost all) the IC Library's other databases to see if any offers the full text of the article--or if the Library has a print subscription to the journal in which the article appeared.
  • "GETIT" will usually find the full text in another database and open it in a new window.  
  • If none of our databases can access the full text but we have a print subsciption to the journal, "GETIT" will retrieve the Library catalog record for the journal so that you can see if the date of the article falls within the date range we have on hand.
  • If full text is not available from any database or from a print subsciption, "GETIT" will provide a link to the IC Library's Interlibrary Loan.  Log in (same as your IC e-mail)--and set up your account if you've never used it before.  "GETIT" will have populated the article request form with all the necessary information and you simply submit the request elecrtonically.  Most articles are supplied as digital files and will be sent to you via e-mail when they arrive.

Articles: Gauging the Slant

     Some research topics involve politicized public policy debates, so remember that magazines are more likely than either scholarly journals or newspapers to have distinct political affiliations.  Below are some broad categorizations of my own:
Liberal magazines include Mother Jones, Village Voice, The Nation, The Progressive, Washington Monthly, Utne Reader, Tikkum, Dissent, American Prospect, New York Review of Books, New Leader, and Rolling Stone.
Conservative magazines include American Spectator, National Review, Weekly Standard, American Enterprise, Commentary, American Outlook, Policy Review and The Spectator.

Want more?  Take a look at Yahoo’s lists of “conservative” and “progressive” magazines.

Contact Us

picture of Dr. Brian Saunders

Dr. Brian Saunders

Humanities Librarian
(607) 274-1198

IC Writing Center

Tired of clicking?  Want to talk to a person about your paper?  Try the Department of Writing's Writing Center.

Specialty Databases

CQ Researcher

     CQ Researcher  is a weekly publication from Congressional Quarterly. Each report (approx. 20 pages) examines a single issue relevant to American public policy, including health, criminal justice, internaional affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. The non-partisan analysis always includes a "Background," "Current Situation," "Outlook," and "Pro/Con" section, as well as numerous charts and graphs of statistical data, maps, and a bibliography for further reading.
Note the "Issue Tracker" and "Pro/Con" browsers on the left of the home page: these provide an excellent way to find or brainstorm a topic.
     User Advisory: The archives here extend back to 1991, and since many of these topics are time-sensitive, keep an eye on dates as you scan the reports.

Polling the Nations

     Polling the Nations  provides data on popular opinion from 1986 to the present.  Either use the Keyword seach slot at the top right or click on "Search" and open the "Topic" menu for a complete list of the issues covered.  Under "Search" you can also specify a date range and a geographical area (but the bulk of the polling information here is from North America and Western Europe). 
     User Advisory: Begin by searching on a Topic without place or date limits--to see the full extent of available data.  If this proves sufficiently large, then add desired limits by location, date, or pollinng source.  All these limits can dramatically reduce your retrievals--which is why it's a good idea to first establish the full extent of polling data on a given topic.

Citation & Plagiarism


MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. The guides below use the latest 2008/9 standards.

Plagiarism & Paraphrase

     I hold this truth to be self-evident: copying sentences or paragraphs without placing them in quotation marks and citing the source is plagiarism.  But plagiarism can--and usually does--take other forms.  Even if you have altered a source by paraphrasing or sampling parts of it, it should be cited.  Even if you borrow an idea or line of argument but not the actual language, it should be cited.
     For those who are unclear on what paraphrase is and how it should be documented, here's my own best summary:

     Paraphrase of a source should be used primarily for concision—giving a briefer version—or for translating ideas and information into your own voice.  But abbreviating a source and substituting some of your own words does not make you the sole author.  For example, any key words or apt phrases taken from a source must be acknowledged.  Borrowed phrases should always be put in quotation marks and even individual words need to be quoted if they are key terms or constitute a specialized usage. 
     Less tangible borrowings--ideas and arguments--should be acknowledged with a citation at the end of the sentence, documenting the influence of a source in the absence of direct quotation.

     When in doubt—cite. Done properly, there is no downside to citation. It indicates that you have taken the trouble to research the topic, that you have the integrity to acknowledge your sources, and that you have the competence to cite them correctly. Further, it shows your ability to identify persuasive arguments or memorable language and then corroborate, refute, or enlarge upon them in your own terms. This last point is essential: never use quotations as a substitute for your own thought. Always comment upon ideas you have found elsewhere. Even if what you cite is simply informational, you need to indicate why you think it is important, useful--or possibly misleading.