Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

COMP 390: Capstone in English: Home

Finding A Topic

If you are stuck trying to decide on a topic for your paper, there are a few ways to generate ideas. 

  1. Scan newspaper headlines 
  2. Browse chapter titles in your textbook
  3. Check out what's trending 
  4. Use a Topic Idea Generator
  5. Use the "Browse Issues" section in the Opposing Viewpoints Database

Preliminary Research

Starting out looking up information on the broader aspects of your topic is a good idea. It is important to understand the larger picture before you start looking at one particular part. To get a broad view, you can check out Reference materials. There are many print and online materials available in the library for your use. Below you will find a list that provides some examples, but it is not exhaustive. 

Locating Print Sources

One way to locate print resources is through the Milne Library Catalog. To access the library catalog, click on the “library catalog” tab on the library’s homepage. You will then use the Call Number to locate the item in the library. If you need help finding the item, please do not hesitate to ask.  

The second way is through Worldcat. To access Worldcat, click on the Worldcat tab on the library homepage. Once you have entered your search terms, you can limit your results using the tools located on the left hand side of your results list. If you would like a book that Milne library doesn’t own, you will request it through ILLiad.

***You can also check out items at Hartwick College with your SUNY Oneonta ID card.**

Below you will find an example of books that might be helpful for your assignment. 

Search Everything

The library has a search feature called "Search Everything". This is the default search on the library's homepage. Using this tool can be difficult and overwhelming because it searches nearly everything the library has access to, including items in the physical collection as well as resources in our databases. 

To effectively search with this feature, use the limiters on the left hand side to narrow down your search results. You can also use the advanced search feature. 

If the library does not have access to a particular article, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan. 

Help

Librarians are available to help in several ways: 

  • Visit the Research Help Desk in Milne Library
  • Call the Research Help Desk at 607-436-2722
  • E-mail a question to a librarian and receive a response within 48 hours
  • Request a Research Consultation to meet individually with a librarian

 

You may also e-mail me directly at Sarah.Karas@oneonta.edu

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators are words or symbols that are used in conjunction with words to refine searches. 

Here are six helpful ones to use: 

  1. AND - narrows 
    1. Ex: ADHD and boys (this narrows down our results to only include ADHD and boys) 
  2. NOT - excludes
    1. Ex: ADHD not boys (this narrows down our results to include things about ADHD excluding those that mention boys) 
  3. OR - expands
    1. Ex: boys or males or guy (this expands our our search to search for multiple possible terms) 
  4. * - expands 
    1. Ex: rac*  (using the asterisk in replace of an ending on a word will expand your search to include results that have any ending on the base word.)
  5. " " - exact phrase
    1. Ex: "executive functioning" (this pulls up results that are stated in the item exactly as written) 
  6. ( ) - confine
    1. Ex: (ADHD or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) AND (boys or guys or males)     - (this will instruct the database or search engine on what parts go together in your search phrase

Databases

When you are looking for scholarly articles to use for your paper, consider looking outside typical literature themed databases. If you are looking at LGBTQ issues, then check out some of the LGBTQ databases. Look at the larger subject in your research and start there. Below you will find a list of databases that might be helpful in your rsearch.