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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

English 101 for Fall 2023

Sections 101-003, 101-004, 101-005, 101-008, 101-009, 101-010, 101-013, 101-014, 101-015 - Instructors Rook Burdick, Isabelle Eastman, Miranda Manzano, Tom Nelson, Daniel Reiss, Grace Richardson, Abby Shaffer, Dylan Siegel, & Matthew Tanner

Why Use the Library's Resources?

JFK Library on the EWU Cheney CampusEWU Libraries are here to help you in a number of ways!

  • Place to study & for group work
  • Use a computer – to look up information, surf the web, check email, etc. All of the workstations have MS Office on them and access to Virtual Labs. Most of the workstations are exactly the same as the computer lab ones -- you’ll have to log in with your NetID. All of Spokane Academic Library's workstations have MS Office.
  • Checkout equipment – 200 laptops, as well as digital cameras, projectors, etc., courtesy of the tech fee.
  • Read, watch or listen to something that isn’t a textbook – the JFK Library has lots of popular/leisure reading, as well as a large collection of DVDs, CDs and LPs
  • Get help – ask a reference librarian anything face-to-face, chat, text message, email or telephone
  • Buy a latte -- at JFK, from Thomas Hammer on the Main Level.
  • And last, but not least. . .

Locate Quality Information

There is more to doing research than what you can find via Google. A lot more! This tutorial is focused on locating, evaluating, and citing articles and books – traditional sources of information that your professors expect you to use in your essays.

Why isn’t all of the information in the library on Google? Because, invariably, quality information costs money. Google is designed to locate what’s available freely on the web.

Can you find articles and books on Google? Yes, some articles and books are freely available, but Google doesn’t organize information by type or quality. It organizes information by keywords, and ranks according to popularity. And popularity does not automatically equal quality. So you end up fishing for jewels in the sea of data.

But if you use the library's online resources you can quickly locate articles and books, or fish for jewels in a jewelry box. They save you time and effort in your quest for quality information.

Advice on Background Information When Starting Your Research

If you are like a lot of people, you start your research with Wikipedia, or you use Google and end up at Wikipedia. Encyclopedias like Wikipedia are useful places to start when you don’t know that much about your topic. They can offer a concise introduction and give you ideas for more specific aspects of an issue, as well as suggestions for important books and articles for further reading.

Issues with WikipediaWikipedia logo v.2

Wikipedia is easy to access and can offer very interesting information, not to mention that it is huge, with over 1 million entries in English. But there’s one major issue with Wikipedia – anyone can write or change an entry. You never know who wrote it, and it’s a "moving target," meaning that the content is constantly changing.

Ideally, because each entry can be modified, the “wisdom of the crowd” improves the accuracy of the information. But in practice, writing by committee doesn’t lend itself to elegant prose, and the entries are better for fact-based information than for holistic, contextual information that academic experts can give you. And you have no idea of the authority of the authors.

Library Sources for Quality Background Information

Hints for Gale Virtual Reference Library & Sage Knowledge

  • Type in your general topic, one word or a simple phrase, in the search box at the top of the screen.
  • When reviewing the results, it is very important that you note the name of the encyclopedia it comes from. Each encyclopedia will have a different focus, so note the title of the encyclopedia along with the title of the entry. An education encyclopedia and a criminal justice encyclopedia will have completely different takes on an issue.
  • To view the encyclopedia entry, click on the title in the large font.
  • If you find an entry you like, you can download it or email it to yourself via the links at the top.

Why Find Articles

Articles from published periodicals (magazines, journals and newspapers) are the best source for detailed information on a topic. Articles tend to be about narrower, more focused issues than books. Also, you are guaranteed that the information published in periodicals has gone through an editorial process, and someone is accountable for the information. There are several different types of articles.

  • Not scholarly: news articles, editorials or commentaries; all articles in popular magazines, and trade magazines/trade journals (these two terms are used interchangeably).
  • Scholarly: research-based articles and review articles, published in academic, peer-reviewed journals. 

What do we mean by “not scholarly”?

Not scholarly means that the articles are not research-based and usually written by journalists, not academics. You aren’t likely to find references to other sources.

Types of non-scholarly articles and publications

  • News articles -- more objective, factually based articles written by journalists and found in newspapers or magazines. You could think of them as the “first draft of history”.
  • Editorials or commentaries -- opinion-based articles, rather than a balanced, more objective piece.
  • Popular magazines -- magazines aimed at a broad audience.
  • Trade magazines or trade journals -- magazines aimed at a particular audience, such as people employed in a particular profession.

What do we mean by "scholarly"?

Scholarly means that the articles are written by experts in the field and will contain references or a bibliography of the sources consulted. There are two main types of scholarly articles.

  • Research articles -- the author(s) have done original research and are writing up their findings
  • Review articles -- the author(s) are critically reviewing other people's original research to synthesize what is known about the issue. These articles are extremely useful to understanding your topic!

See the tab Distinguising Scholarly Articles for more detailed information in determining if an article is scholarly.

Find an Article When You Have Citation Information

There are two ways to locate the full article if you have citation information (such as one of the references in an article).

1. Try looking for the article in the EWU Library Catalog

The EWU Library Catalog knows about millions of articles, so the odds are good (but not 100%) that it will find a record for your article and tell you if we have it online, in paper, or if you'll have to do an Interlibrary Loan. Just go to the EWU Library Catalog and copy/paste the title of the article you want, and check the box in the upper right Include results with no full text.

2. If the first step doesn't work, then you need to see if we have the source (journal, magazine, newspaper) of the article. Just use the link below.

EWU Library Catalog Title Search -- Search to see if we have a particular periodical (journal, magazine or newspaper) online, in print or microfilm. Type in the name of the journal, magazine or newspaper in the box where it says "journal of". (Just erase and type in your title.)

  • Online access = we have the title online. Just click Online access to see a list of databases with date ranges. Click on the name of the database to view the journal.
  • Available at = we have it physically (in print and/or microfilm). Note the location and the call number. Click Available at to view the years we have available.

E-Journals -- Alphabetical list of the journals, magazines and newspapers we have online in our databases. It will not show if we have it in print or microfilm in the library.

If we do not have the periodical you are looking for, you may request specific articles via Interlibrary Loan.

Find Books, Videos, etc.

Why would I want to find books?

Books are the best source for comprehensive information on a topic. A good book will give you a sense of scope, historical background, and a thorough analysis of the issues. In many disciplines, the pinnacle of scholarship will be published in books.

The books purchased by the library have primarily been selected by the faculty or the librarians, based on positive reviews or reputation of the author or publisher.

But writing, editing and publishing a book takes time. If you’re looking for analysis of a current event, books won’t help as much as articles will.

Browsing the JFK Collection

The books are arranged by subject, using the Library of Congress Classification System. While you certainly may browse the shelves to find worthwhile titles, this is not as easy as it is in bookstores. Why not? Because we have too many books. If you were looking for books on classroom management and started browsing in the Ls, you would quickly become frustrated or sidetracked.

The most efficient way to find books is to use one of the catalogs above, note one or more call numbers for relevant titles, and then go browse in those areas.

Help with Searching the EWU Library Catalog

The EWU Library Catalog gives you access to all the library's books, videos, CDs, government publications, as well as articles on all subjects.

What’s in the catalog?

  • All of EWU’s physical holdings, including books, videos, CDs, government documents, and more.
  • All the physical holdings of all the Summit Libraries—over 9 million titles!
  • Citations for millions of articles.

How do I search the catalog? | How do I locate an item? | I can't find the specific book or video I want. | How can I get more help?

How do I search the catalog?

If you don't have a particular item in mind, type in your keywords as you would in Google, as a string of words.

  • Put exact phrases in quotes, e.g. "college students"
  • To find variations on a word, type the stem of the word followed by *, e.g. success* to find success, successful, etc.
  • If you want to look for either word/phrase, the Boolean operator OR must be in ALLCAPS and in parentheses, e.g. (STEM OR science*).

screenshot of search in the catalog

Know the title or author?

If you know the exact title of the item, type in the title "in quotes" and the last name of the author (if known).


Click Browse in the top bar and type in the title and/or author. (Note: The Browse function only works for EWU holdings of books or videos, not for titles held by other libraries.)

screenshot of search for Cline's Ready Player One

Refining Your Search

Because the EWU Library Catalog has records for all types of resources, you will very likely need to limit your search results. Note all the limiters on the left side, as well as some quick limiters at the top.example of narrowing to print and ebooks

  • Click on the limiter to narrow by the one limiter.
  • You can narrow to more than one in the category by clicking the corresponding boxes on the left of the limiter (such as limiting by Format to both Print Books and eBooks). Just hover over the limiter to see the box.
  • You can exclude particular limiters by clicking the icon on the right of the limiter. Just hover over the limiter to see this icon.   icon of a checkmark crossed out

Useful limiters:

  • Availability -- Available in the Library -- this will quickly show you the books and videos we have on the shelves in the library
  • Availability -- Full Text Online -- this will limit to the articles and eBooks available
  • Format -- limit to books, audio visual (for DVDs, CDs, etc.)
  • Date -- click on the From/To dates to update, and click Refine
  • Physical Location -- easiest way to limit to a particular collection, such as the Curriculum Center or Reference
  • Subject Terms -- because the subject terms given to articles and books are can be different, it is best to narrow by Format first, then Subject Term.

Mark Your Records

See the push pin icon on the far right (labeled "Keep this item" if you hover over it)? 

example of a brief record in the EWU Library Catalog

Click it and it will change the push pin icon and highlight the brief record yellow. You have marked a record temporarily. Click the push pin icon in the top right corner to view your marked records.

  • Note: To permanently mark a record, you need to be logged in. Click the Sign In tab in the top right corner.

How do I locate an item?

The last line of the brief record describes where the item is located.

screenshot of results list from catalog


If the wording is green, that means it is readily available, either online or physically on our shelves at the JFK Library in Cheney.

  • For physical items, note the location: floor and call number. 
  • For online items: click the green wording (Full text available, Online access, etc.) to link out to the item. 

If the wording is yellow, that means you'll have to request it. Click Check request options - held by Summit libraries. You must be logged in to request the item -- you'll be prompted to if you aren't already.

Once you are logged in, click the link Place Summit request (4-8 days). The form will ask you:

  • Volume number (optional) -- only matters if it is a multi-volume set and you only want one volume
  • Pick up/delivery location (required) -- which library do you want the item delivered to -- the default is Cheney
  • Comment (optional)

Click REQUEST. You will be notified via your EWU email address when the item is ready to be picked up. 

If the wording is gray, that means either:

  • The EWU copy of the item is checked out. You will have to request it from a Summit library, or via Interlibrary Loan if there is no other copy in Summit.
  • The article is not available online. It may be in a physical copy of the source (and it will display the date range held and call number), or you will have to request it via Interlibrary Loan.

I can't find the specific book or video I want.

While the EWU Library Catalog has millions of records, it only will search through the holdings of the 39 Summit libraries. If you can't find a specific book, video, CD, etc., then go to the EWU WorldCat Catalog and re-do your search. WorldCat has records from thousands of libraries worldwide. You may request the item via Interlibrary Loan.

How can I get more help?

Please contact a reference librarian through our Ask a Librarian chat or send us an email.

How Do I...?

…access databases from off-campus?

  • Log in with your SSO or NetID username and password. This is the same username/password that you use to log into Canvas, etc. 
  • If you don't know what your username/password is, then go to
  • If you have problems, contact the IT Help Desk.

…check out stuff?Circulation Desk

  • Your EagleCard is your library card. Just bring it with you to the Circulation Desk on the Main Level at JFK to check out most library materials. Spokane Academic Library is located on the Second floor of the Academic Center Building.
  • Go to the JFK Lower Level Services Desk to check out laptops and other equipment. See Equipment Checkout for more information. Spokane Academic Library has some laptops that you may check out.

…find a particular journal, magazine, or newspaper?

Go to Find a Journal, Magazine or Newspaper and type in the name of the source (not the article title). 

…get help with my research?

For personalized consultations, go to Ask a Librarian.


…is the library?

  • The JFK Library is located in the heart of the Cheney campus, on the Quad, in between the Science Building and Williamson Hall. Need a map of the Cheney Campus?
  • The Spokane Academic Library is on the 2nd Floor of  the Academic Center. Need a map of the EWU Spokane Campus? Directions to EWU Spokane Campus: From I-90, take the Hamilton St exit and go north on Hamilton, then left on Trent, and take the first right onto Riverpoint Blvd.
  • Library hours

Upper Level seating in JFK…can I study?


In the JFK Library...

Group study room in JFK

  • At study carrels and tables scattered throughout the building
  • In 7 group study rooms on the Lower Level
  • In 5 group study rooms on the Upper Level

In the Spokane Academic Library...

  • At workstations and tables scattered throughout the library
  • In 5 group study rooms on the Upper Level
  • At the nearby café and other public areas of the Academic Center

…are the materials my instructor put on reserve?

  • Books and print articles are on reserve at the JFK Circulation Desk (Main Level) or the Spokane Academic Library Circulation Desk (Second Floor).
  • Videos on reserve at the JFK Lower Level Service Desk.
  • View a list of reserve materials in the EWU Library Catalog by instructor name or course name

…is the fiction shelved?

In the JFK Library...

  • On the Upper Level under the P’sBestsellers & Good Reads on Main Level
  • In the New Books area, on the Main Level just to the left of the main entrance (also under P’s)

The Spokane Academic Library doesn't have much in the way of fiction. But they do have a collection of literary magazines.

More FAQs

Don't see the answer to your question? Check out the bigger FAQ, or Ask a Librarian.