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Welcome to LibGuides!: Tips & Tutorials

Research guides for your LCCC courses and assignments.


How to Evaluate Sources

  • Is the Author an expert in this field or topic through education or experiences?
  • Are there a list of sources this author based their work on?
  • Is the publisher consistent in information in this field?
  • Is the source from the Government or a Company or Peer Reviewed Journal?
  • Is there bias?

Here is a 3 minute video - Evaluating Sources for Credibility created by the library or North Carolina State University

If you want to talk through the credibility of a source - Use the Ask US button 




Need Key Words

Key Words are the main Search words used to find articles on the topic. 

Energy Keywords and how they relate

Here is an example of keywords that would be used to search on information about energy.  Note If you search petroleum, less likely to find information on Water Energy.  Yet if you search Fossil fuels, you could find information on Petroleum, Oil, Coal, Natural Gas and Gasoline.  Experimenting with different keywords helps you to expand or shrink your search in any database.










Once you find a good article that is on track to what you are looking for in an article.  Copy the whole article into a Word Cloud Generator.  This generator will show you a visual of much used words to help you find other keyword terms you can use in your database research.

From this word cloud you can see to add in to your searching:  refinery, or fuels, or processes, or emissions depending on your topic, some of the smaller words help narrow your searching.


Citation for this Word Cloud

  • Wang, M., Lee, H., Molburg, J., & Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). (2004). Allocation of energy use in petroleum refineries to petroleum products: Implications for life-cycle energy use and emission inventory of petroleum transportation fuels. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 9(1), 34-34.






Find a Book

When you find a non-fiction book about your topic, Usually books will have a list of Sources or a Bibliography at the back.  This lists out all the sources the author used in their research.   You can search for these sources, read them, and use them in your research on the topic. 


Scholarly / Academic Sources will also have a list of sources and citations for you to read and access also. Look for at the back of the book or at the end of the article.



General Search through Google, Google Scholar or Duck, Duck, Go

or any other Search Engine



  • Be Cautious, Be Skeptical
  • Websites can be posted by any individual or organization, whether or not they are an expert or authority on the topic. Company websites or blogs 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.  Establish why this website should be considered an expert in this topic.  Expertise comes from knowledge, work experience, or academic research on a topic.

Reason to Cite Sources

  • By crediting who and what helped shape your own thoughts and ideas, it shows that you are an ethical user and producer of information. 
  • It shows that you have read and understood what others have discovered or think about the topic you have chosen to write about. 
  • In the scholarly/academic world, citation contributes to the credibility and reputation of an author; it demonstrates to others in their field that they are aware of the scope of work that has already been done related to their research. 
  • It is a service to your readers so that they can locate your sources too. 
  • Citation is an important part of avoiding plagiarism which is considered a serious academic integrity violation in American colleges and universities. 


How to Avoid Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?    the unacknowledged use of somebody else's words or ideas.

If you quote in a submission or paper - Give the citation of where it came from.

If you use ideas from another source in a submission or paper - Give the citation of where is came from.

If you paraphrase information from another, as in changing the words but keeping the meaning in a submission or paper - Give the citation of where it came from.

If you submit a paper or assignment that is written by another person, You would be submitting the assignment as if it was your own work, when it was not.  Do not do this.   

Note: If you collaborated with a group and you wrote part, and others wrote parts, when each group member's name is on the submission, this is giving all the authors, and researchers credit.  This is not plagiarism.

If you wrote or submitted an assignment in a previous semester and want to use your own quote or your own words from that previous semester's paper - Give the citation of that previous submission.


***Take Time and good notes of the sources you used when learning and writing about a topic.***


Several colleges and universities have web pages providing guidance on avoiding plagiarism:

  1. Purdue's Online Writing Lab - Plagiarism Overview includes a list on the left with "FAQS" "When Do We Give Credit?" and "Safe Practices" for advice on ways to mark your notes when researching.

  2. University of Wyoming - Step into College: What is Plagiarism.  Includes "3 Simple ways to Avoid Plagiarism"

  3. Duke Libraries has a guide how to "Avoiding Plagiarism" 

Be Prepared as you Research.

  • Know what your instructor requires

MLA style? APA style? Chicago style? If you can select a citation style for yourself, just be consistent.

  • Keep track of your sources as you go.

    This way, you will avoid having to remember where you found a particular quote or fact.  Keep track of all that you read and use.

  • Have basic citation examples available to copy the formatting as you go.   

Always Look for:

  • Author
  • Date Published
  • Publisher, city, State or online,
  • type of format [book, pdf, visual, online permalink, video, interview] as examples of possible formats.

When you know the source type and format ...

note page with pen, write down sourcesFollow a citation style guidebook, or

Use the appropriate online guide: APA, Chicago Manual of Style, MLA


Use RefWorks to help format and store our citations, or 

Keep a list in a Microsoft Office Word or Google Document

Create a Basic Weekly Schedule

something that includes all the scheduled events, classes, work, other weekly commitments 

Access through My LCCC -  email, includes access to the outlook Calendar.  Could be used for this weekly scheduling.



Or Use Word with the many templates of Calendars

Download-able templates through the Word app, connected to your My LCCC email.


Fill a semester long Calendar

Put in all assignments when due. Put stars next to the assignments that need several sessions to lead up to the assignment to complete them. If 2 sessions of 2 hours, 2 stars, if 5 sessions of two hours, 5 stars. You can then plan up to that assignment approximately how much time you need to complete it. 

Each Week is Unique - add the assignments, readings, and any 2 hours sessions of work for big projects that need to be complete that week. 

E-Books - Search Term "Time Management"

Click on the cover if signed into My LCCC for the ebook access



Libby EBooks or Audio Books available, must sign into the database separately using your LCCC library card # and Pin.  Here are a few titles - 


Give yourself breaks.

I usually set a 20 or 30 minute timer to get up and move when I am working on long projects or reading several chapters. Literally stand-up walk around your chair and get back to it.  



Set aside time to have fun

 play games, read, exercise, watch TV and take some downtime. At the library you can check out board games, several streaming videos to help with yoga or a recreational movies are available through Databases – Kanopy or Films on Demand

E-Books or Audio Books through Libby

Use Campus Involvement (Find in MyLCCC) to meet others with similar interests.

The Ludden Library's Makers Space and Innovation Lab has monthly events free and open to the public and students.


Do Not Forget to Eat and Sleep! 


ASK for Help! 

At the Ludden Library, we are happy to help with research and using databases.

Instructors are there to give clarification on assignments and course content.

Library Learning Commons Tutors are available to talk through assignments, and add a boost of help.

If you don't know where to ask for help - start at the library - We are good at finding resources for all types of questions.  We can point you in a helpful direction, if we cannot find the answer.  We want you to succeed!


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) 3 minute video created by North Carolina State University Library.

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

How to Read A Scholarly Article? video 7 min created by North Carolina State University 


Note: RefWorks will be discontinued Aug. 31, 2024

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.

Log into RefWorks 
‚Äč(RefWorks and Flow recently merged platforms. If you encounter problems or need help transferring your citations, please ask a librarian for help.)

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.

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.