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FYS: Getting Schooled: The Promise and Problems of College in America

Library research tips for Dr. Sievers' FYS
The Gatekeepers: inside the admissions process of a premier college
Tearing down the Gates: confronting the class divide in American education
What the Best College Teachers Do
A Larger Sense of Purpose
Making the Most of College
Affirmative Action Is Dead: long live affirmative action
Working in Class: recognizing how social class shapes our academic work
The Purposeful Graduate
The Power of Privilege: Yale and America's elite colleges
College (Un)Bound
Experiencing Racism
Save the World on Your Own Time
The Diversity Bargain
Between Citizens and the State
Priests of Our Democracy
Take Back Higher Education
Latinos and Education
College: what it was, is, and should be
Our Underachieving Colleges
My Freshman Year

Explore encyclopedias

Credo is an academic alternative to Wikipedia. In addition to encylopedias and articles relevant to this course, it includes a topic page for higher education with links to additional material.

Search Tip

Think about keywords related to college or higher education in general, or a specific topic within higher education, to start your search in the library's WorldCat catalog. When you find a good book, try the "More like this" subject links to find more books on the topic.


Suggested Databases for Articles

Academic Search Complete is a comprehensive multi-disciplinary full-text database. Start your research for articles here!  Tip #1: View an article's full record to read the abstract, or summary, and quickly decide if it is useful for your research.  Tip #2: Use the subject links from the full record to find additional articles.

You must set up a free personal account while on campus and renew it yearly. provides full access to New York Times and International New York Times content, and is updated 24/7 with corresponding time stamps.  For instructions on how to set up your account go to the NYT Online LibGuide.

Updated weekly. Provides news and information services of interest to faculty, administrators and students in the field of higher education from 1995 to the present.

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Evaluating websites

Use these criteria to evaluate a website: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    • examples: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government), .org (nonprofit organization), or .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
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MLA Citation Style

Complete your research by correctly citing all your sources. A citation credits the authors / creators of sources you used, and lets your paper's reader locate and verify these sources. MLA is the major style and citation guide in the field of literary studies. 

Purdue OWL -- Online Writing Lab -- covers the basics of MLA formatting and style. For the most complete information, use the Handbook, available in the Research Commons and on Reserve.