Normandale Community College

Normandale Community College

Welcome to Normandale Library
Use this page to find research resources for your class.
Contact the Library if you need any help!
Step 1: Topics and Keywords
The first step in any research project is to brainstorm a list of topics you want to research. These topics are what you'll end up searching for in the library databases.

database is a collection of electronic materials, like magazines, newspapers, journals, and books. You will search library databases similarly to how you search Google, with a few differences. You often search Google with sentences, commands, or phrases. However, with databases:
  • You search databases with topics (ideas, concepts) and nouns (person, place, thing). We call the terms you search databases with keywords
  • Keep keywords at 1-4 words--shorter is better. Try to reduce your topic to its core idea.
  • Think of synonyms for your keywords. Databases search the text of an article for your exact keywords, and authors might not have used the exact same words as you. Think of synonyms, alternate terms, similar ideas, etc. to search with.

This video gives a good overview of what database searching looks like:

The topic for your paper is heroism. Let's brainstorm a bit about different ideas related to heroes and heroism.

What words or ideas do you think of when you think of "hero" or "heroism"?

What kinds of people do you think of as heroes?

What other topics are related to heroes and heroism? Perhaps less obvious examples of heroes? Remember to include synonyms.
  • gender
  • race
  • ethics
  • hero
  • heroism
  • self sacrifice
  • risk
  • leadership
  • conflict
Step 2: Find Sources


Next, use library databases to find articles. Again, a database is simply an online collection of print materials like magazines, newspapers, journals, etc.. Each database will have different articles so be sure to search multiple databases. Mix and match the keywords you brainstormed. Try 2-3 keywords at a time. If don't like what you're finding, try different keywords. If you're still not happy, try a different database.

Academic Search Premier Restricted Resource  Enter 1-3 keywords in the search boxes. After you search, use the options on the left to limit your search.

Expanded Academic ASAP Restricted Resource Again, try searching 1-3 keywords to start. After searching those words, try options on the right.

US Newsstream (ProQuest)  This database searches for news only. Enter 1-3 keywords in the search box. After you search for those words, add additional keywords, or try using the options on the left.

Page on "Heroes" in Credo Reference with links to definitions of heroes, encyclopedia articles, etc.

Book Search Unrestricted Resource

Book Search searches the listing of books and ebooks available at the Normandale Library.


Combined Search Unrestricted Resource

Library Combined Search helps find articles, books, and videos from the library collection.


Try more than one database to find more articles. If you're not sure which one to use, ask a librarian!

Videos on library databases from Northeastern Illinois University:

What are the library databases and which one should I use?

How should I search in a database?


Evaluate Source Credibility
Evaluate each source you use with CAPPS!
Consider the source's –
C = Currency
A = Author
P = Publication
P = Point of View
S = Sources
More info about CAPPS pdf
Ask a Librarian
Questions? Ask us!Ask Us

Call or e-mail a librarian if you need further research assistance. We're happy to help!

  (952) 358-8290



Luke Mosher
Reference & Instruction Faculty Librarian

Chat with a Librarian 24/7

Your question may be directed to a librarian from another college when Normandale librarians are unavailable.

Use Library Resources Off Campus
Access Databases from Off Campus
In order to access databases and other Library resources from off campus, login with your StarID and password when prompted.  Off-campus access to library databases is only available to current Normandale students, staff, and faculty.
Cite Your Sources (MLA) - Sections 30 & 39
MLA Quick Guide
See MLA citation examples for the most common types of sources (8th edition).

MLA Formatting and Style Guide (OWL at Purdue)
This website offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, and the Works Cited page.
Cite Your Sources (APA) - Section 08
APA Quick Guide
A guide to APA citation format based on the 6th edition of the APA Publication Manual.

APA Formatting and Style Guide (OWL at Purdue)
APA (American Psychological Association) is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page.

Powered by SubjectsPlus