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ENGL 1200: Writing II (Takehana): Informational, Reference & Popular Research

Reference Sources

Need a topic, but don't know where to start?  Need some background information to help you build better searches?  Start with some of these reference sources to browse and learn basic information about your topic. 

Online: Forget Wikipedia or random Google searches!  These database are just as easy to search, but provide you with academic sources that you can include on your bibliography!

Reference Books:  Need something a bit more specific to a certain era or movement?  We've got great reference books here in the library.  Here's a small example of what we've got.  Ask a librarian for help identifying a source that will apply to your area of research. 

Find Books

ILLiad: Get Books from Another Library

Newspapers & Magazines Sources

Newspaper accounts and articles from popular magazine that covered the events or time period of your topic can provide insight into what was going on politically, economically, culturally and so on from a local, regional or global perspective.  Here are some resources that the library has available both electronically and in print.  

Print or Microfilm - 2nd Floor:  

  • Fitchburg Sentinel (1922-1973, microfilm) 
  • Forbes (1917-1969 microfilm)
  • Foreign Affairs (1922-1956 microfilm)
  • Fortune (1930-1982, microfilm and print)
  • Life (1936-1972, microfilm)
  • National Geographic (1897-current, print)
  • Newsweek (1933-2002, microfilm)
  • New Yorker (1925-2002, microfilm and print)
  • Saturday Evening Post  (1898-1968 on microfilm; 1931-current available in Academic Search Complete)
  • Scientific American (1898-1994, microfilm)

Find articles in these titles by searching by date if you know the approximate date of your topic or use the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, located on the 2nd floor in the Index & Abstract range, as an index to finding articles from the early 20th Century. Search by topic to find citations for articles relevant to your research.  Once you've identified an article you are interested in, check for the magazine title in our Journal Locator search tool at the bottom of this column to see if we've got access to it. 


Web Sources

We know most searches for information start on Google. It's important to remember though, that Google's results are ranked by popularity, not necessarily authority. The best source for your information might not be in the first 20, or even the first 100 results. You can utilize Google's Advanced Search option to help narrow your results from the start:

Use Google's search box structure on the advanced page to enter the related terms in your search (i.e. girls/women/female) and create a Boolean search string (see box to the left)

Use the "Search within a site or domain" box to screen out .com sites

Here are some suggested sites for general information about American Popular Culture by the Decade:

Journal Locator Search Tool

Type in the name of a journal to see if the AVGC Library has access to it online or in our print collection: