Composition 303

Librarian's Corner

  • Topics
  • Articles
  • How to Use Database Subject Headings
  • Books/e-
  • Citations
  • Musician, Performer, Lyricist
  • Career Info.
  • Worldview
  • Search Strategies
  • QuickLinks

Choose a Topic

These Web pages are provided to help Composition 303 students researching their assignments, which may include writing on an ethical issue within a discipline or career, analysis of contemporary lyrics, worldviews and more.

Subject headings, descriptors and thesauri terms are examples of "controlled vocabularies." They are lists of pre-defined, carefully selected words and phrases used to classify and organize information. Controlled vocabulary describes the general content of an information unit, such as a book, an article, or an essay.

Use Subject Headings and Thesauri To:

  • Get ideas
  • Browse related, broader and narrower topics of interest
  • Get specific, targeted results
  • combine with keyword searching for more focused results

As shown in the chart below, controlled vocabulary varies with discipline and database and may be identified as subject heading terms or a thesaurus. Click a database title then look for, and use, the subject or thesaurus link(located in the top menu bar).

Subject/Discipline Sample Database Index or Thesaurus
Multidisciplinary: Academic Search Complete Subject Terms
Business: Business Source Complete Company Profiles; Business Thesaurus
Education: Education Research Complete ERIC Thesaurus
Nursing: MEDLINE with Full Text MeSH 2013 (Medical Subject Headings)
Theology: ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerial Scripture Authority File
Finding Articles
1. Access
If off campus, log in with your ORU network login. (Your username is your ORU email address without
2. Choose a database.
To choose a subject-related database use the QuickLinks tab above, the database list page, or a library subject research guide.
    Multidisciplinary database:
  • Academic Search Complete - articles, essays, book reviews, and more

    Subject/Discipline related databases (Examples for a literary critique):
  • Biography in Context - biographies of people from around the world and throughout history. Includes articles, images, videos, and more.
  • Literary Index - index to Gale literary series; NO full text.
  • Literary Reference Center - author biographies, literary works, plot summaries, articles, criticisms, and more.
3. Search.
Use descriptive words from your thesis statement when searching article database. Include subject headings or thesaurus terms to optimize your search results.
If you searched your topic in a database and got "zero" results, try the following:
  1. Check your spelling and make corrections, if necessary.
  2. Expand your search -- use fewer keywords or use synonyms and truncation.
  3. Choose a different database to search.
4. Evaluate.
Your Result List
Sort the List: Relevance is usually the default display. Sort by date for the most recent articles to appear at the top of the list.
Add Limiters: Date, peer reviewed, subjects, language, etc.
Your Articles
Read the abstract. Click the title to view the full record. If available, read the abstract, a summary of article content, to see if the article is relevant to your topic. Look for additional keywords to search and (or) ways to narrow your topic.
5. Expand.
In the EBSCO platform, use the "Choose Databases" link (shown below) to search a different database or several databases simultaneously.
EBSCO databases
Use a subject library guide for additional databases and search tips.
6. Read the article full text.
Click HTML, PDF, Full Text through LinkSource or similar link.
Note: "Full Text through LinkSource" may link to 1) the article in another database, 2) the ORU library catalog record that shows the journal is available in the library, or 3) an interlibrary loan request if the journal and article is not available in the ORU library.
8. Cite your sources.
See: How to Find...Articles
Tutorials & Help for EBSCOhost and Gale
Using Database Thesauri or Subject Headings

Keyword vs. Subject/Thesaurus Searching

Whereas the common keyword search is based on an exact word match, a subject or thesaurus search locates records by assigned subject or descriptors.

Searching with controlled vocabulary in a subject index or thesaurus allows you to more precisely retrieve relevant information on your topic, illustrates relationship between related terms and helps you identify synonyms and broader and narrower terms.

Keyword and subject terms searching can be combined. For example, rather than guessing what keywords to use consider doing a thesaurus (controlled vocabulary) search first. Review and assess your results. Then, add a keyword search to the query or use Search History to combine searches.

Identify all the major concepts of your thesis or research topic. Then use the thesaurus or subject index to locate, explore and select descriptors (also known as subjects) for each concept of your topic.


In Communication & Mass Media Complete

  1. Click Thesaurus in the top menu bar.
  2. Key in your term in the Browsing Thesaurus text box and select a browse function, such as Relevancy Ranked. Click Browse.
  3. To display details of a term, click the term.
  4. Click the checkbox in front of the terns(s) to include in the search, and then click Add to move the thesaurus terms into the search text box. More...
  5. Click Search or browse for another descriptor to add to the search string. EBSCO Thesaurus

Or, try a keyword search, retrieve a record that looks relevant to your topic, and then note and/or use the subject descriptors for that record. Click on any descriptor for a new search on that subject.

Education Research Complete - ThesaurusIn Education Research Complete

  1. Click Thesaurus in the top menu bar.
  2. Key in your term in the Browsing: Education Thesaurus text box and select a a browse function.

Search results for the term “ethics” (shown right) includes the alternative subjects of "ethical problems," "student ethics," "work ethics," and "education-moral & ethical aspects." (Database Subject Headings and Thesauri. PDF)

  1. From the list of results in the thesaurus, to add the terms to your search, mark the checkboxes in front of one or several terms and click the add button.

Browse and select additional relevant subjects for your topic. When finished, click the search button at the top of the database page.

In another thesaurus search example, “SCHOOL psychologists -- Professional ethics" and "STUDENT counselors -- Professional ethics" were added to the search using "or." There were 24 search results, including articles and citations, but some articles may be too old to use for the research assignment. So, in the left menu under Refine your results, for the Publication Date, type in the date(s) or drag the date bar to set your date restrictions, and then click update.
Go to the search. Try it. View the above example and limit the results to 2005-present. How many results?

Books and eBooks

Use the ORU library catalog to find books in the library and ebook records that link to the full text. Try a library catalog subject search for your topic. From the list that comes up, click a subject to view the list of book titles.

To email a book list To save a book list
  1. Search the catalog.
  2. Click the "Book Cart" icon to mark your selected items.
  1. Click the "View Saved" icon at the top of the page.
  2. Click the "Export Saved" button at the top.
  3. Mark the items to send, enter your email, and then click "Submit."
    NOTE: Use Full Display format to include the book's location, call number and availability.
  1. Click the "Save to My Lists" at the top of the page.
  2. Enter your name and barcode (located at the bottom of your students ID) then click "Submit."
  3. From the drop menu, choose "Create a new list" and key in a list name. Click "Submit."


To find ebooks in the library catalog, limit your results to ebooks.
After you find an ebook, click the ebook title to access the detailed record, and then click the View content of ...E-book link to go to the ebook full text. (shown below)

Library catalog ebook links


Although ebook titles are in the library catalog, you may choose to search an ebook database.

ebrary: ethics/ christian ethics
For optimal results, combine subject and keyword searching.
For help see: Quick Start Guide | Tutorial | apps (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch)
Download options
show/ hide View search strategies
To search the entire collection, type a simple search or click "Advanced" for multiple field and text box options.
To browse and/or search by specific subject area use the "All Subjects" link at the top of the ebrary page.
To narrow your title results list click a subject, or several subjects, at the top of the page.
To open the ebook, click the title or book jacket image.
To view the most relevant chapters from all the books, click the Chapter Results tab next to the Title Results tab.
To use the Text-to-speech function: After you have found a book, click the ebrary Reader button to open a book in ebrary's reader. Choose the "Speech" tab. Highlight text to be read or just click the "Read the selected text button" for the page to be read.
show/ hide View ebrary's Free "Open Access" Collections
eBook Collection
MLA Works Cited (Citations)


Most databases have tools that create citations in several formats, such as MLA, APA and Turabian. Try the tools listed below to copy/paste/edit citations, as needed to match your assignment requirements. Always check the citation references for accuracy with the print style manual.


If you use a book from the library, do a title keyword search in the library catalog, access the record, and then click How do I Cite this? (circled in the image below) Select the correct citation style (MLA) then copy/paste/edit the citation.

Library Catalog citation link Go there.


In an EBSCO database, such as Academic Search Complete, use the Cite link in the "Tools" menu on the right sidebar, (The "Tools" menu is only available on the item record; it is not on the results page.)

EBSCO citations Go there.


The EBSCO Folder is a personal information management tool to save articles, save searches, create citations lists, write notes, and more. Create a folder then sign in to your folder. Note: Items added to the default folder are NOT saved.

For a single citation in an EBSCO database, click the article title to access the detailed article record. Click the "cite" button in the right toolbar. choose the recommended style, then copy, paste, and edit the citation to match the style requirements.

For multiple citations use the EBSCO folder:

  1. After you add the articles to the folder, click Folder has items at the top of the page.
    In the folder:
  2. Click checkboxes to mark items to be cited.
  3. Click the Print icon (in the right toolbar).
    In the Print Manager window:
  4. Uncheck HTML Full Text box and Search History, if showing and checked.
  5. Choose a Citation Format.
  6. Click Print (items are reformatted for printing). PrinT or cancel, then save or copy/paste/edit the citations.

Find Information About a Musician, Performer, Lyricist

Several resources and tips are listed below but this is not an exhaustive list. Depending upon your subject, person or topic, other databases may have relevant articles. Use the QuickLinks tab above to view and select other databases.
See also: Biographical Information and Music library guides.

Biography in Context
Key in the person's name. Once you find an article or entry, review the bibliography for other relevant resources. (To find an article listed in the bibliography, use the A-to-Z Journals List, search the journal title and drill down to the date or issue you need. To find a book listed in the bibliography, search the book title in the library catalog.)
Search suggestions:
  • Key in the person's name, song or lyric phrase.
  • Use quotation marks around a song title or lyric phrase.
  • Search the default fields and the "text" field.
  • Search the name several ways. For example use AND between the first and last name.
Academic Search Complete EBSCO
Humanities International Complete EBSCO
Literary Reference Center EBSCO
MLA Bibliography EBSCO
Oxford Music Online
ProQuest (Dissertation & Thesis, National Newspapers Core)
Use the 4 databases link at the top left to select databases.
Citation example Suggestions (MLA):
Song lyrics
Artist/lyricist last name, first name. “Song title.” Recording date. Album name. Recording label. Year of release. Format (CD, cassette, MP3).
Bon Jovi, Jon. “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Slippery When Wet. Island/Mercury, 2017. CD.
Lyrics (from a website)
Artist/lyricist last name, first name. “Song title.” Website name. Medium (Web). Date you accessed.
Bon Jovi, Jon. “Livin’ on a Prayer.” MetroLyrics. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.
Optional style:
Bon Jovi, Jon. “Livin’ on a Prayer.” MetroLyrics. 30 Oct. 2015. <>.
ORU Library Catalog
In addition to searching, browse for books in relevant call number sections. For example, titles for the subject Christian Rock Music--History and Criticism are in the call number section #ML3187.5. In ebrary, key in call numbers to browse books in that subject area.
Sample search: bob dylan's hurricane lyrics
Sample titles:

Journals and Magazines

A-to-Z Journals List: popular culture - Browse journal titles. Select a title then browse an issue or search all issues for an artist, song or lyrics.
Sample titles:

Americana (1533-8931)
Journal of Popular Culture
Journal of Religion & Popular Culture

Also try the person's name and/or song lyrics as a search in the "text" field. Although, this may not provide lengthy articles specific to your person, the search may bring up some interesting articles.

Career Information
CareerCast: The Best Jobs of 2014
O*Net Online (Occupational Information Network)
Occupational Outlook Handbook (U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Profiles of hundreds of occupations; describes What They Do, Work Environment, How to Become One, Pay, Job Outlook, and more. See the A-Z Index.
Spotlight on Statistics: Occupations (U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
See also: Job & Career Resources library guide.
Databases - Use Subject Limits
In addition to career websites, use databases to identify trends, the outlook and other features or projections for your career. Begin in Academic Search Complete, then click the Choose Databases link to mark and add one or more subject related databases to search. Or, use the QuickLinks tab above or the database list to select database(s).
Use key terms for your occupation. After you review the result list, update it by using the Subject and (or) Subject Thesaurus links in the left menu bar (shown below). Mark all relevant subjects for your occupation. Change databases as needed.
Subject Thesaurus Terms
Sample Searches: Click the links below to review the search results and edit for other careers or professions.
librarian AND "job description"
library professions AND ethics (Subject Term)
DE "LIBRARIANS -- Professional ethics" (DE = subject heading)
DE "Library science -- Moral & ethical aspects" (Subject heading); same search edited

Keyword Searching

To find articles:

  • Use descriptive terms from your thesis statement.
  • Use subject specific databases relevant to your topic.
  • Consider alternative terms that identify your key concepts or the type of information you are seeking.
  • If available, set date restrictions for your results.


Search Strategies
Operator (Boolean)
Use key terms for searching
AND   Use to search different concepts together. Produces fewer results.

children AND evangelism

OR Use to link similar terms; group with parenthesis; produces more results
(children OR child) AND (evangelism OR evangelize)
NOT Use to specify a term you do not want in the search results.

(children OR child) AND (evangelism OR evangelize) NOT school

Excludes results with school.

Truncation (*) Searches the ROOT of a word ended with *

child* AND evangel* NOT school

Searches: child, children AND evangel, evangelism, evangelical, evangelized, etc.

Use fewer concepts Increases number of results
child* AND evangel*
Use more concepts Decreases number of results
child* AND (outreach OR evangel*) AND inner AND city
Phrase Search Use quotation marks; Refines search
child* AND (outreach OR evangel*) AND “inner city” AND “New York”

Proximity Search:

NEAR: Finds words that occur "near" a specified range of each other. Use when only word RANGE is important.
inner city N5 new york

Searches: inner-city in New York or New York's inner city

Proximity Search:

WITH: Finds words that occur near a specified range of each other. Use when word ORDER and RANGE are important.

inner city W5 new york

Searches: inner-city in New York but not New York's inner city
Subject Field
Some database may include any or all three. Subject fields, indexes and thesauri are specific and unique to a database and its content. Respectively, they are used to divide information in related subjects, categorize and group database content, and offer collections of "controlled vocabulary" that includes synonyms, related terms, and narrower and broader terms.
Look for limiting options on the database search screen.
Examples: Full text • peer reviewed • date • related terms • language • subjects
Database QuickLinks

More Information = vendor's database description

OneSearch (EBSCO's Integrated Search Interface)
Composition 303 LIBBI: Research Tips and Tools (trifold PDF)