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Welcome to LibGuides!: Tips & Tutorials

Research guides for your LCCC courses and assignments.

Tips and Tutorials

Use the tabs in this box for getting started with your library research!

  1. Know what your instructor requiresAre you required to use MLA style, for instance? If you can select a citation style for yourself, just be consistent.

  2. Keep track of your sources as you go.
    This way, you will avoid having to remember where you found a particular quote or fact.

  3. What type of source is it?
    Book, encyclopedia article, journal article, website, film ... ? Some of the library databases, such as Gale Virtual Reference Library or Oxford Reference Online, are the online versions of dictionaries and encyclopedias. These will be cited differently than articles from journal/magazine databases.

  4. What format is it?
    Paper or online? A journal article retrieved from a library database, like EBSCO, will be cited differently than the same article if you accessed it in paper format.

  5. When you know the source type and format ...
    a. Follow a citation style guidebook, or
    b. Use NoodleBib to help format and store your citations, or
    c. Use the appropriate online guide: APA, Chicago Manual of Style, MLA

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of somebody else's words or ideas. Several colleges and universities have web pages providing guidance on avoiding plagiarism:

  1. Purdue's Online Writing Lab includes a list, "When Do We Give Credit?" and "Safe Practices" for advice on ways to mark your notes when researching.

  2. Indiana University Bloomington pamphlet, Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It", which includes sections on "How to Recognize Unacceptable and Acceptable Paraphrases" and "Terms You Need to Know."

  3. Northwestern University's "The Writing Place" Web site has a discussion on avoiding accidental plagiarism on its page, "Avoiding Plagiarism".

  4. Duke Libraries has an excellent "Guide to Library Research". The "Avoiding Plagiarism" unit describes allowing sufficient time for research, methods to include in your note-taking to avoid unintentionally plagiarizing, documentation directions, and information on copyright and the Internet.

Why evaluate the quality of Internet websites?

  • Websites can be posted by any individual or organization, whether or not they are an expert or authority on the topic.
  • Websites can reflect bias, which may or may not be explicit.
  • Websites may be written by organizations who may or may not be open about the interests they represent.

What is NOT literary criticism? 

  • An article about the life of the author (this is a biographical essay)
  • A summary of the plot (Literary criticism goes beyond a simple retelling of the story; it judges the quality of the original work, analyzes meanings, compares the work to others, and/or examines the authors ideas within the context of the times.)

Sources of Literary Criticism:

Databases Search Tips
Literature Criticism Online
Literature criticism, including short story, poetry & drama

If you are looking for criticism on a particular short story or poem, try the Named Work search.

You may choose to expand your search to Full Text for more results. However, a full text search will include many articles in which your story or poem may only be briefly mentioned.

Literature Resource Center
Author biographies, literary criticism

From the Advanced Search page, enter the name of your work AND check only the Literary Criticism box.

Many of your results may be articles taken from journals and republished in this database. If you have a question about how to cite your sources, click here. Still not sure? Ask a Librarian!

Gale Virtual Reference Library
All subjects; extensive collection of reference books

This database has some excellent criticism compiled from reference books; however, you will have to pick and choose to find the articles that are truly literary critiques.

Look for clues: From what book does the article come? When you scan the article do you see words like "themes," "style," and perhaps even "criticism." If in doubt, ask your instructor or a librarian.

Humanities and social sciences journal articles
For the most part, you will find good literary criticism in this database. Again, just be savvy when searching and look for clues that you have found a critical article. Be sure that it is not a biography of the author or simply a summary of the plot.

Scholarly (Peer-reviewed) Vs. Popular Articles -- What is the Difference? - (10.5 min.) This tutorial includes audio and will open in a new window.

Although some people may use these two words interchangeably, there is a distinction. If your instructor has told you that you must use "scholarly journals" or "peer-reviewed journals," she or he wants you to avoid using popular magazines as sources for your paper.

Popular Magazines Scholarly Journals
Written for "lay" audience, those who don't have in-depth
knowledge of the topic
Written for "experts" with in-depth knowledge of topic
Content aimed at entertainment, opinion, quick facts, current topics Contain research studies, analysis, technical information
Shorter articles - broad overview of topics Longer articles
Usually do not cite sources of information Includes extensive bibliographies of sources cited in work
Author usually a staff writer Authors are "experts" usually with credentials listed
Evaluated by editors, not experts Articles reviewed by a "jury" of experts, often referred to as "peer-reviewed" or "refereed"
Examples: Time, Newsweek, Psychology Today, Vogue, Reader's Digest Examples: Bioscience, Journal of the American Medical Association

NOTE: These tutorials include audio and require Flash Player. (If you don't have flash installed, download it here for free.)

  • Databases 101 
    • Learn the basics of searching library online databases. (9 minutes)
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals
    • Does your instructor want you to use scholarly, peer-reviewed, or academic journal articles? Find out what she/he means. (10 minutes)

MLA Citation Style

MLA LibGuide

This guide will explain how to cite information sources using the MLA style.  It will also provide many examples of properly cited paper and electronic sources.  If you do not find what you need in this guide, the links at the right side of the screen may provide more assistance.  The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition), available at Ludden Library, is the best place to look when online guides do not help.  Ask at the desk and we will show you where it is located.  If you cannot come to the library, contact us and we will help answer your question.


RefWorks is an online citation management tool. Use RefWorks to export citations from many of the library databases, such as EBSCOhost and ProQuest, and then let RefWorks create your bibliography to include at the end of your research paper.RefWorks logo

Log into RefWorks

To create your own new account, after clicking on the link above, select "Sign up for a New Account" in the gray box on the left.

Watch RefWorks tutorials

Or Ask a Librarian for help.

Note: As with all automatically generated citations, it is important to double check the accuracy of your citations before turning in your assignment.

Online Citation Tools


Citation Builder


The Son of Citation Machine

Note: Although these online citation builders have been developed to provide consistent citations with the rules set out by the citation style guides, users are ultimately responsible for the citations and need to proofread them for accuracy.



APA Citation Style

APA LibGuide

This guide will explain how to cite information sources using the APA style.  It will also provide many examples of properly cited paper and electronic sources.  If you do not find what you need in this guide, the links at the right side of the screen may provide more assistance.  The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition) is the best place to look when online guides do not help.  Ask at the desk and we will show you where it is located.  If you cannot come to the library, call us and we will help answer your question.


Record and store your citation information in your own online account and NoodleTools will automatically generate your MLA or APA bibliography.

1. Log into NoodleTools 
IMPORTANT: If you are off-campus, contact the library for remote access information. You will need to log in using the library databases off-campus password before you can enter your personal NoodleTools ID.

2. Create a Personal ID
Pick any Personal ID and Password you'd like. This will create an online account just for your citations.

3. Create a New List

Now that you have your own NoodleTools account, select "Create a New List" to start saving your citations for a particular class or research paper.