TECH 1110: Library Research Module

Welcome to the TECH 1110 Library Research Module Exercises. The following activities will help you learn about NSU Libraries' resources and the research process.

The exercises cover:

At each step, you will be required to utilize a resource and answer questions. If you have questions about the terminology in this exercise, consult this Glossary of Library and Internet Terms. If you have questions about the terminology in this exercise, consult this Glossary of Library and Internet Terms.

The following fields are required:
Your Name: 
Please enter your email address followed by your professor's email address.
Please note that addresses must be separated by a comma.

STEP ONE: Choosing a Topic

Choosing a topic is the most important decision you will make about your project. You may be assigned a topic, or you may be allowed to choose your own.


How to Choose a Topic

  • Unless pre-assigned by your professor, choose something that interests you.

  • Choose a focus that fits the assignment. Is it a five- or a twenty-page paper? Is your topic too narrow or too broad for the size of the project?

  • If you need assistance choosing a topic, try the ProQuest Topic Guide (you will have to log in to view this document).

  • Identify the main concepts of your topic. Generate a list of key search terms for each concept (see below).

  • Using a dictionary may help you come up with key search terms. You will find these two dictionaries in the Reference Section of the Alvin Sherman Library:
    • McGraw-Hill Dictionary Of Scientific And Technical Terms.
      Q123 .M15 2003
    • Dictionary Of Computer Science, Engineering, And Technology.
      QA76.15 D5258 2001

  • There are several useful online tools you can use to try and find IT terms and/or synonyms:

Activity #1

  1. Enter your topic:

  2. Enter your key search terms:

STEP TWO: Finding Journal and Newspaper Articles

To find articles about your topic, use an index. Indices provide citations to articles from a variety of journal and newspaper titles. Some indices contain the full-text of the article as well. Online indices are found in the Electronic Resources section of the library's Web page, under the heading of Databases.


How to Find Journal and Newspaper Articles:

  • Start with a general interest database, such as Research Library, Expanded Academic ASAP, or Reader's Guide Full Text, which can be found in the alphabetical listing of databases.

  • A subject search is usually more focused than a keyword or text search. Start with a keyword search (in ProQuest, Citation and Article Text; in Reader's Guide and Expanded Academic, Keyword), then try using the subjects assigned to the records you retrieve to focus your search.

  • If you find one article that focuses well on your topic, check out the references or works cited at the end of the article. The referenced articles are usually a great resource for further research and study.

  • To find other databases for your topic, consult the databases by subject area.

  • Is your article from a scholarly journal or a popular magazine? Try our help sheet on Distinguishing Sources.

  • If the full text of your article is available in the database you are searching in, a link will be provided to print or email the full text. If not, you can search across all databases using the Full-Text Journal Title Search. Simply type into the search box provided the title of the journal, newspaper, or magazine. If the title is available full text in any of NSU's databases, a link to that database will appear on the page. Click on the link to proceed to the full-text database, then type in the information from your citation in the search boxes provided.

  • If no electronic full-text is available for your article, you may do a Title search in NovaCat to see whether the NSU Libraries own a print version of the journal, newspaper, or magazine.

  • If an article you need is not available full text online nor in NovaCat, the article can be ordered through the Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan Department.

Activity #2

  • Access one of the following databases from the Electronic Resources Database List at
    • Research Library (ProQuest)
    • Reader's Guide Full Text (WilsonWeb)
    • Expanded Academic ASAP (Gale)
  • Using one or all of your key search terms from Activity One, perform a Keyword search.
  • Find an article that is NO MORE THAN 5 years old.
  • Print or Email one article related to your topic by following the instructions within the database.
  • Enter the article information below:
Database used: 
Journal or newspaper title: 
Article title: 
Author of Article: 
Is the article peer reviewed?: 
  Yes  No  Not sure
Is the article available in a 
page/image or PDF format? 
  Yes  No  Not sure
Which database did you use? 
  ProQuest  Wilson Web Expanded Academic
What date did you retrieve the article? 


How to Cite Articles Retrieved from Online Databases

Journal and newspaper articles that are retrieved full text online need to include a retrieval statement in the citation.

For example:

Tunon, J. (2003). Innovations in robotics. Frontiers of Research, 32(2), 22-45. Retrieved October 1, 2003, from Wilson Web Applied Science Full Text database.

For additional examples of how to format journal and newspaper articles obtained online from NSU databases and/or other NSU resources, take a look at


You have successfully completed the TECH 1110 Library Research Exercises.

To receive credit for this exercise, click on the "Send Information" button below. Once you submit the form, you may save your results to a diskette or to your hard drive by selecting "File" and "Save As" from your browser's menu bar (top left), or click on "Print" to print.

To turn in this portion of the Library Research Module, click on the "Send Information" button below.

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