Use AT LEAST 10 reputable academic sources.

Mr. Cobbett’s class must use at least 3 periodicals (newspapers, magazines, journals) and Mr. Gilman’s must use at least 2 periodicals. These items may be found online, but they must be from publications that originally appeared in print form.

You may use one encyclopedia or reference article (no more than that).

You may use up to two internet sites (no more than that).

Check your assignment for the book requirement.


Topics must be approved by your teacher; choose a topic that interests you.

An MLA Style Works Cited page (bibliography) is required; this is not part of the page count for your paper.

Your paper must declare a clear and arguable thesis with support from scholarly evidence.

  • Resource Info and Links: Databases, Catalog, and Internet
  • Search Tips
  • Citation
  • Source Evaluation

Search Tips for Most Databases

Quotation Marks

Use quotations to find an exact phrase. For example:

“affirmative action”
“capital punishment”
“gun control”
“Supreme Court”
“tort reform”

Truncation (using an asterisk *)

Try using truncation to get better search results. Truncation means that a symbol–usually an asterisk *–is added to the end of a word root. This asterisk tells the database to search for all forms of that word. For example:

If you type censor* in the search box, you will get articles with all instances of the word censor, such as:

Advanced Search and Sorting Results

Most databases provide links or a drop-down menu to sort by relevance or date.

Most databases have a link called Advanced or Advanced Search. Using Advanced Search, you can:

limit the date range
limit the document type
refine your keyword search

Tips about Specific Library Resources

Tips for CQ Researcher

Check that the article is recent (published in the last 5 years or so). Some topics will not have a recent article in CQ Researcher.

Do not print the entire report.

To get the correct citation, in the citation area at the bottom, click See Alternate Citation Style. Click the MLA Style link. Copy and paste the MLA citation into your bibliography.

Tips for SIRS

Using the blue links at the top left, you can sort by date or relevance.

Check out the subjects in the See also section at the top of the results. If a subject seems to fit your topic well, then click it for more relevant results.


Cite your sources as you find them, using MLA 8 Style. Most LS Library databases provide citations (below the article, or through a link).
Here’s some citation guidance:


As you find sources, you need to evaluate them for soundness, currency, relevance, authority, and purpose. This goes both for database sources and web sources. Here’s a list of questions that can help you evaluate sources: