Lessons and Worksheets fro Writing a Research Paper

Formulating the Research Questions|  Worksheet | Identifying Various Types of Information Sources| Choosing the Best Sources|| Finding Periodical Articles Using Baruch College Online Database| Finding Periodical Articles Worksheet | Evaluating Information |Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages| Worksheet| Citing Sources | Avoiding Plagiarism |Note Taking |Research Paper Progress Report | MLA Documentation of Research Papers| Baruch College Databases |Finding Reviews of Books, Movies and Music |


Lesson 1: Introduction to Research

Formulating the Research Question

Objective: To help students understand the research assignment, think through a topic, identify key words that describe the topic, and ultimately formulate a research question or thesis statement.

It is recommended that students be given some freedom in selecting their own topic for research.  Students new to this process may take a lot of time trying to decide what to do their research on.  This is okay because as they get m ore experience with this process, it will become easier.  Once they have decided even if tentatively what they want to research, their next step will be to come up with a list of terms or keywords that would describe their topic.  The list can be used to search library online catalogs (public libraries or CUNY+) for books and the EBSCO host databases for magazine, journal and newspaper articles.  Keywords can also be used to search for appropriate information on the Internet.

The time student spend defining their research topic as well worth the effort.  In order to locate information in library databases or on the Internet, they must clearly understand what they are looking for and know how the topic fits into other areas of knowledge and research.  The following sections will provide you with ideas on how to begin your research.

Choosing a Topic
Often the hardest part of writing a research paper is selecting the right topic.  A good topic should sustain interest over the time that it will take to do the research and write the paper.  It should be meaningful to the student while at the same time raise questions that have no simple answers, and provide the opportunity to expand the student knowledge through critical assessment of various points of view.

No matter what topic is chosen, it must have a focus.  Many topics are too broad or too loosely defined at first.  When an aspect of a topic interests is chosen, keywords should be used to describe it.

Most research topics can be approached from different angles.  For example, a student who is writing a paper on cloning would probably want to focus the paper on a specific aspect of cloning.  The selected aspect will lead to different sources.  For example, focusing on the moral and ethical issues raised would lead in a different direction than if a student chose to write about the scientific aspects.

Finding Background Information and Terminology
To help narrow a topic, a student should look for keywords or headings in the indexes of encyclopedias, in periodical indexes, or in the table of contents of books covering their topics.  All of these sources can provide terms that will aid in the search.

Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and textbooks can also provide a helpful overview of a particular subject.  News summaries such as the CQ Researcher, Opposing Viewpoints and Facts on File can provide factual and objective information on current, emerging and controversial topics.  These full-text databases present various opinions, provide essential keywords (terminology) to describe the topic.

Worksheet: Formulating the Research Question: the 5 W's

Topic or Idea:




Why did you select this topic?        What interested you about it?




Where: What countries or states will you be researching?  Will you be comparing policies or practices cross-culturally?




When: Are you interested in the current or historical information?  Are there particular dates or time period associated with your topic?  Will you be comparing past or historical practices or policies with today's standards?




Who: Whom does this issue effect?  Are particular professions and/or academic disciplines concerned about the topic?  Are there well-known persons associated with the topic?




What: What word(s) or terminology is used in discussing this topic?  Do different groups use distinct terms to describe or discuss the topic?




Identifying Various Types of Information Sources

Objective: To introduce students to different types of information sources.  The activities in this class are intended to help students to understand the differences between books, periodicals, websites, and to identify the appropriate search tools to use each format.  Students will learn to recognize the differences between information formats, differentiate between primary and secondary sources, and distinguish the purpose and intended audience for a particular source.

Using online catalogs and subscription databases to find books and articles

What is a database?

Database - A computerized system for storing, retrieving and displaying information.  Types of databases include:

Most online catalogs and databases cannot understand complete sentences or questions, so it is necessary to create a list of keywords for searching purposes.  These keywords need to be connected by what we call Boolean or logical connectors, And, Or, Not.

Boolean: Most databases will allow you to search with Keyword(s) and/or combining the with Boolean And, Or, Not.

And combines search terms so that each result contains all of the terms.  For example, search prisons and profits to find records that contain both terms in each result.

Or combines search terms so that each result contains at least one of the terms.  For example, search prisons or profits to find results that contain either term.

Not excludes terms so that each result does not contain the term that follows the not operator.  For example, search prisons not profits to find results that contain the term prisons but not the term profits.

Boolean searching is the way to connect logical relationships between words and concepts.  Multiple connectors can be used in one search request.

Truncation: A device (usually ? or *) used in database searching on the singular, plural, and adjective form of words as well as various spelling of them (i.e. prison? will find prison, prisons, prisoners, where as profit? will find profit, profits, profitability, profitable, etc.)

Choosing the Best Sources

What kind of information does the source contain?  It may be established knowledge, ideas and practices on which a consensus has been reached by recognized authorities in a particular field.  For this kind of information, the researcher reaches for encyclopedias, handbooks and textbooks.

When current opinion is needed, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet may be the best sources.  These sources show difference ways of considering controversial issues.

Scholarly journals and research reports are sometimes challenging to read but generally they are considered the most reliable for research papers.

The considerations just discussed distinguish among kinds of research material by their form: encyclopedia, magazine article, etc.  There are still two other distinctions that are frequently made and researchers should understand the differences.  The first is the difference between primary and secondary sources.

Primary sources are those that contain the author's original research based on experimentation, observation or other scientific methods/ eyewitness accounts/ texts of original work, creating writing, works of art, etc.  Primary sources include official documents such as laws and policy statements.

Secondary sources are based on primary sources.  Most of the information in libraries and databases is secondary.  Most books and periodical articles fall into this group.  These sources are useful since they explain and analyze the primary sources and relate them to each other.  Since secondary sources reflect upon the information of the original sources, they help to form opinions about the material.  For example, a play by Shakespeare is a primary source and all the books and articles written about it are secondary sources.


Exercise:  Have students list as many primary or secondary sources that they have used or know about.  Discuss their lists.



Finding Periodical Articles


Some items to consider particularly as they relate to periodicals can be integrated into the criteria of evaluating information in another section of this curriculum.  Periodicals are newspapers, magazines, and scholarly (or peer reviewed) journals.


-    written by a scholars for an academic audience

-    written in demanding language or jargon of a discipline

-    usually specific to discipline or area of knowledge



-    written for the general public

-    easy to read

-    covers a lot of  miscellaneous information


See periodical work sheets.



Worksheet: Finding Periodical Articles 1


1. Use the EbscoHost databases look for articles and the relationship between cancer and diet in Newsweek magazine.  You can access the EbscoHost databases by visiting http://newman.baruch.cuny.edu/.  Click on "Information Resources" and select "EBSCOhost-Databases".  Use the library ID # listed on the bottom, right corner of your Baruch College ID card to access the library's electronic resources.

a. Write your keywords using Boolean connectors.


b. How many entries did you find? ____________________________________________________________________________

c. Scan the abstracts, what conclusions can you draw from this information? _____________________________________________






2. Now look for articles on your own topic.

a. How many entries did you find? ____________________________________________________________________________




Worksheet: Finding Periodical Articles 2

1. Describe two periodical indexes (databases) available through the Baruch College's Library's website:







2. Use the Readers Guide Abstracts to look for articles about whether or not diet has anything to do with cancer in Newsweek magazine.

a. Write your search statement. _______________________________________________________________________________


b. How many entries did you find? ____________________________________________________________________________

c. Scan the abstracts, what conclusions can you draw form this information? _____________________________________________




d. Cite one of the articles. ___________________________________________________________________________________



3. Use Academic search Premier database to find article on the same topic; do not limit them to Newsweek.  Note some of the names of the periodicals and the various formats available for the articles, and answer the questions below.

a. Write your search statement. _______________________________________________________________________________


b. Write the number of entries found. __________________________________________________________________________

c. Scan the abstracts, what conclusions can you draw form this information? _____________________________________________




d. Cite one of the articles. ___________________________________________________________________________________




4. Find two articles on your topic.  Are they popular or scholarly?  How can you tell?










Evaluating Information


Objective: To help students become aware of the factors that should be taken into consideration when evaluating paper and electronic information sources.  Evaluating information in terms of its usefulness for a particular need. 

After this unit, students should be able to evaluate

>Criteria and questions to consider when choosing information for research purposes

> Evaluate information retrieved form Internet sites

> Evaluate information in books

> Evaluate information in periodicals



Things to consider when choosing an information source.  Students will be able to find tons of information because the technology has made it easy to create information and to make it easily accessible than in the past.  Most of the time it is challenge to decide what information to select from the mountain of it that is available.  It is an important yet difficult task.  Some things to consider when evaluating information sources are divided into two categories.  The first one takes into consideration traditional formats of books and articles from periodicals.  The second is a even more challenging because one has to take into consideration a variety of sources obtained from the Web.

Using the following worksheet, have students consider the criteria below to evaluate a non-fiction or reference book of periodical related to their topics.  Please note that some of these categories may apply to specific types of materials.  In most cases there is an explaination in parenthesis.

Format and ease of Use (usually applies to a reference book):

-    Introductory materials, user guide

-    Logical format

Arrangement and Access (usually applies to a book)

-    Alphabetical, chronological, topical

-    Cross-reference

-    Table of contents, index, glossary


-    Reputation of the publisher (if known)

-    Qualifications of the editor, author, contributors

-    Sources of data

Aim and Scope

-    Purpose

-    Intended use and users

-    Completeness of coverage & entries

-    Balance in selection and treatment

Timeliness and Accuracy

-    Copyright date

-    Revision cycle, updates, supplements

-    Currency of statistical data, illustrations, bibliographies

-    Documentation

Treatment and Style

-    Point of view

-    Bias

-    Language

-    Quality and level of writing

Introduction to Research

Directions:  Choose one reference or non-fiction book or periodical related to your topic to examine according to the criteria on evaluating information in books.

Format and Ease of Use:



Arrangement and Access






Aim and Scope:



Timelines and Accuracy:



Treatment and Style:



Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages

Evaluation of Web Documents How to Interpret the Basics
Accuracy of Web Documents

-  Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her?

-  What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?

-  Is this person qualified to write this document?


-  Make sure author provides e-mail or a contact address/phone    number.

-  Know the distinction between author and Webmaster.

Authority of Web Documents

-  Who published the document and is it separate from the "Webmaster?"

-  Check the domain of the document, what institution publishes this document?

-  Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?


-  What credentials are listed for the authors?

-  Where is the document published?  Check URL domain.

Objectivity of Web Documents

-  What goals/objectives does this page meet?

-  How detailed is the information?

-  What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?


-  Determine if page is a mask for advertising; if so information might be biased.

-  View Web page as you would an infomercial or television.  Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?

Currency of Web Documents

-  When was it produced?

-  When was it updated?

-  How up-to-date are the links (if any)?


-  How many dead links are on the page?

-  Are the links current or updated regularly?

-  Is the information on the page outdated?

Coverage of the Web Documents

-  Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the documents' theme?

-  Is it all images or a balance of text and images?

-  Is the information presented cited correctly?


-  If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don't have the software?

-  Is it free or is there a fee, to obtain the information?

-  Is there an option for text only, or frames, or a suggested browser for better viewing?



Five Criteria for Evaluating Web pages

Putting it all together


You may have a Web page that could be of value to your research!


Introduction to Research

Worksheet: Evaluating Information from the Web

Directions:  Select a website that is relevant to your topic and complete the following questions.

  1. Who is the author of the document or who is responsible for the information on this site?  What is expertise of the author?  If an organization who are they?



    2.   Who is the site's sponsor or producer?  Is any sort of bias evident?



    3.   How valuable is the information provided in the Web Page (intrinsic value)?



    4.   How current is the information?



    5.   Who is teh audience?



    6.   Would you use this information in a college research paper?  Why or why not?



    7.   Additional Comments:



Introduction to Research

Citing sources and Avoiding Plagiarism


Objective:  To introduce students to the importance of giving credit to the sources used in writing a research project.  Presentation of evidence that is found is important to give credibility to research to avoid using ideas from another person's work without giving the proper credit.

After completing this unit, students should be able to:


Taking Notes and Documenting Paper with Bibliography & Footnotes

Documentation:  Bibliography & Footnotes


-  Gives the source of your information (facts)

-  Records the origin of, or the authority for, teh remark in the paper

-  Giving credit to other authors

What do we document?

-  Opinion of another

-  Statistics, dates

-  Controversial information

-  Direct quote


Note taking

General Principles

-  Thorough Understanding (be sure you understand a passage before taking notes on it.)

-  One idea to a Card (for easy organization and logic)

-  Accuracy (leaving off a number or omitting a phrase or even a syllable can distort information)


Kind of Notes

-  Summary

-  Paraphrase

-  Direct quotation

-  Personal comment


Suggestions for Legible and Useful Notes

-  Use cards

-  Take notes in ink

-  Write on only one side of the card

-  Put only one idea on a card

-  Use whatever abbreviations you find convenient for notes


Recording Information

-  Identify the source of what appears on each card, author's last name and/or the beginning of the title (the top-right-hand corner is a convenient place to note information because it can be seen easily.)

-  Note the page numbers from which you obtained information, (put in top right-hand corner)

-  Identify the subject of each card, (top left-hand corner should be used for this.)

Introduction to Research

Research Paper Progress Report



Thesis Statement:





Outline or description of issues/sections to be covered in your paper:




Describe the steps that you have taken in constructing your paper so far:




What questions or difficulties are you having with your research?




MLA Documentation

Of Research Papers


--To give credit to the author of a given source, both a) when we quote his or her exact words or b) when we state his or her ideas or information in our own words.

--To help an interested reader locate an original source for further reading.

Major Styles:

1) MLA style (Modern Language Association)--for the humanities (literature, history, and religion, for example).  You will use this style for most undergraduate college research papers.

2) APA style (American Psychological Association)--for the social sciences (psychology, political science, and sociology, among others) and business, especially in advanced-level or graduate courses.


Two Components:

1) In-text citation --- given in parentheses at the end of both a) quotations, and b) sections giving the ideas or information of an author in your own words.  It includes minimal source information, so as not to interrupt your text more than necessary.

2) "Works Cited" list --- an alphabetical bibliography given at the end of a research paper.  The in-text citations lead to this bibliographical list, which gives an interested reader more detailed source information.


--The following page gives the MLA style format for common kinds of research sources.  (The all-caps indicate the kind of information.)  For special cases and examples, see the "MLA" formats at: http://library.duke.edu/research/citing.

--For dates: a) The format for dates is DAY MONTH YEAR - with no punctuation between.  b.) Abbreviate the names of all months (for example, "Nov."), except for May, June, and July.
--With page numbers: There is no "p" or "pp" before page numbers, just the number itself.)

--When figuring out the format for a citation, it can help to recall the goals for documentation: The in-text citations should be brief and guide the reader to the correct item in the alphabetized "Works Cited" entry.  The "Works Cited" entry gives enough information for an interested reader to locate the source, whether it is in print or on the internet.

--When a source which was originally available in print is found on the internet, the print information is given first in the "Works Cited" entry, and then online info.

MLA Documentation in Research Paper

In-Text Citations
--basic pattern: (AUTHOR PAGE)
--if you give author's name in your text: (PAGE)
--if no author is given: (TITLE--FIRST 2-3 WORDS    PAGE)

--internet source without no page #: (AUTHOR)
--internet source with no author or page #: (TITLE--2-3 wds, or HEADING--2-3 wds)

For examples and special cases, see "MLA" at: http://library.duke.edu/research/citing/

"Work Cited" List

(Note the punctuation--the periods, commas and colons, along with the underlining and the "quotation marks"--below.  Also, note that you will capitalize normally, not with all-caps.)

Print Sources
--basic pattern:





Online Sources
--article in online magazine:

--magazine article located through Baruch College database:
                DATABASE.  Baruch College Newman Library.  DATE OF ACCESS <URL>

--text on professional or commercial website:

For examples and special cases, see "MLA" at: http://library.duke.edu/research/citing/

Baruch College Databases
William and Anita Newman Library Subscriptions

Baruch College's Newman Library subscribes to a large number of very useful databases.  These allow a researcher to conveniently gain access to the full texts of thousands of national and international newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and high quality web sites.


Accessing the Databases

  1. Go the Baruch home page: www.baruch.cuny.edu

  2. Click on "library" on top bar

  3. Click on "Electronic Resources" or "Information Resources"

  4. Click on name of desired DATABASE (for example: "Academic Search Premier," "Master File," "CQ Researcher," or "LEXIS-NEXIS:) in ALPHABETICAL listing.

  5. Click "connect to database" (IF YOU ARE NOT AT BARUCH, you will be asked to type in the last 9 digits of your BARUCH LIBRARY CODE.  This is the right hand number on your Baruch ID card.)

Overall Database Tips

Search terms in these databases differ from those which can be used in Internet searches.  In the MasterFile Premier, Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier and LEXIS-NEXIS, you will want in most cases to use one-or two-word search terms, and to not use quotation marks.

Individual Databases: Description and Tips -- See the following five pages.

Master File and Academic Search


These two databases will be easy for you to search in.  This is because the contents and indexes are especially designed for college research.  Also, articles found here can be conveniently printed or emailed to yourself.

MasterFile Premier is especially useful for background research.  Its range of publications includes magazines and newspapers which are popularized enough to offer accessible overview information.  Academic Search Premier offers more specialized sources, including academic journals from a range of fields.  It is useful for in-depth research.


Search Tips

--Do an "Advanced Search," so you can limit, expand, or focus your search.

--It is good to "Limit your results," when you can:
            --Give a date range
            --Give the name of publication/s (Newsweek, The New York Times, etc.)

--As one way to "Expand your search," you may want to click "Also check within the full text of the articles."  (It's near the bottom of the search page.)

Master File and Academic Search, Cont'd


Focus in With "Subject Terms"

To greatly expand, focus, and/or narrow your search, and to add to its quality, it is productive to be alert to "Subject Terms."  These are the categories into which the articles in these two databases are indexed, and can thus be most directly found.


Here's how to locate "Subject Terms":  When you are opening up an HTML Full Text" file, say, click on the title of the article, not on the words "HTML Full Text."  This will lead you to a page which most of the time includes a list of several "Subject Terms," any one of which you can click to search.

If you record a Subject Term to use in future searches, the following will be your key words: DE "Subject Term" ( Note the space after DE and the quotation marks)


A Look at Types of Search Results

In your list of search results in MasterFile and Academic Search, it's easiest to first concentrate on articles available in "HTML Full Text" or "Linked Full Text" versions.  Here's a review of the main kinds of search results you will find:

-    "HTML Full Text" give your the text of the article in a format that is easy to read and to print. 

-     "Linked Full Text" gives you a link to high-quality internet source.

-    An article in "PDF Full Text" may be useful, but this format can be difficult to read and copy.  Clicking "Find it! options at CUNY" can lead you to a page with a variety of links and options.  Two sourcelinks you will find here are "Gale Group" and "ProQuest," both of which are, for the most part, straightforward.

-    To follow a Lexis-Nexis Academic link in "Find it! options at CUNY," the path to the article is a bit tricky:

a.    Click "back" to the results list, and write down the title, the author, and the date of your article.

b.    Click on "Find it! options at CUNY" again.  Then click on "Lexis-Nexis Academic."

c.    Click of "Search this title," on the bottom, left of the "Source List" screen.

d.    Now in you are Lexis-Nexis; leave the settings in Steps 1 and 2 as they are.

e.    Complete Steps 3 and 4.  [See the LEXIS NEXIS database Search Tips on the following page.

-- In Both MsterFile and Academic Search, you can easily "Print" full-text articles or "Email" them to yourself.




This data base is more complex to use then MasterFile or Academic Search.  It becomes really useful, though, when it enables you to find articles form otherwise unavailable sources- most notably the New York Times.  Once a researcher has found, in his or her background research, concrete search terms- the names of experts, key events, and involve organizations, for example-- this is a remarkable tool during the in-depth stage of the research.

Tip: Another way it is easier to search in LEXIS-NEXIS is if you have already obtained exact titles, authors, and publication, and dates from other sources, such as MasterFile Premier or Academic Search Premier.

As an extra feature, you cna get very good descriptions of the territory and orientation of hundreds of specific magazines and newspapers.  Click on "Source List" (next to "New Source"), and then click on "About this Title" next to a particular publication in the list.


This database provides a wealth of contemporary information in articles on general, cultural, and political news.  It offers full texts of articles form a very large number of local, national, and international magazines and newspapers.

Search Tip

Do a "Guided Search," so you can select a date range and publication.

1.    In "News Category," for most searches, select "General News." (For book reviews, though, select "Arts &sports News")

2.    For "news Source" usually select "Major Papers" or "Magazines and Journals." (For book reviews, select "Book, Movie, &Play Reviews.")

3.    It is a advisable to limit the results when possible, by giving the name of the publication.  Do this in "Source List." For key words, use mostly one-or two-word search terms, and don't use quotation marks to combine words.  Next to the search terms, usually leave the search in "Headline, Lead paragraph/s, Terms" vs. in "Full Text." "Author" here indicates that the search terms are he article's author.

4.    Limit the search results, when possible, by setting a date or a date range.


CQ Researcher


This source is excellent for:

--a preview of mostly national topics of current debate

--a quick overview study these areas, or

--a full background study to get a solid grasp of the issue at hand.

Its reports give a researcher concrete specifics to use as search terms for the next step-- in -depth research--in a database such as LEXIS-NEXIS.  The researcher can obtain, for example, the names of key experts, events and organizations.


--The CQ (Congressional Quarterly) Researcher provides solid information on current political and social issues.  It has the kind of background studies that are useful, say, for government decision makers and journalists, as well as students.

--This database consists of reports--44 per year -- on top subjects of national debate.  It focuses on topics in lifestyle, health, education, the environment, technology, international affairs, and the U.S. economy,  Recent examples of reports include "Gender and Learning", "Intelligent Design", "Identity Theft", and "Domestic Energy Development".

--Each report presents the following sections, all of which are key for background research:

    --Overview; Background; Chronology

    --Current Situation--assessment of

    --Pro-con--statements from representatives of opposing positions

    --Outlook and Next step-- a look ahead

    --Bibliography--key sources

    --Contacts--inc. related organizations

Search Tips

- You can do a "Quick Search" with key words.  (Keep trying, if one key word doesn't work.)  Alternatively, you can search in "Browse by Topic" (to see an alphabetical list of report titles) or by "Browse by Date" (for research titles by year, beginning with 2005).

- Within a specific report, you can click on specific report sections of interest, listed on teh top, such as 'Abstract," "Overview", "Chronology", "Pro/Con", or "Bibliography".

- In terms of printing you may want to print out only the most relevant section/s.  Whole reports are very long -- 30 or so pages.

Oxford Reference


This reference offers specialized definitions in a range of fields of study, which is perhaps its most useful feature.  Students can explore meanings of words beyond the general dictionary definition.  For example, the word "power" can be looked up in dictionaries for tis usage and meaning/s in such diverse fields as mythology, religion, psychology, political science, or military history.


Access to a hundred Oxford University Press reference works,  This database includes a complete range of academic subjects--from political science, psychology and anthropology to literature, religion, and are history

Search Tips

- For a full list of definitions, enter your word/term in "Quick Search".  (Note: The name of the dictionary is given after the definition.)

- Then, to NARROW the search to just one or more academic areas, click on the field/s of study in "Refine by Subject".

Finding Reviews

of Books, Movies, and Music

Convenient Commercial Sites & Baruch Database Sources

Convenient Commercial Sites

Books, Movies, and Music


This well-known site has reviews for books, music (DC's and DVD's) and movies (video and DVD's). There are excerpts of reviews from newspapers and magazines, as well as from customers, some of whom are very sophisticated and articulate.  This site ahs a larger number of reviews than bn.com, especially ones by customers.

bn.com (Barnes and Noble booksellers)

This site is similar to that of amzaon.com It has though, the following advantage: You can trace "back" to earlier stages of a search more often.  (In amazon.com, this thread is frequently not available.)


New York Times


These indexes will lead you to any review by The New York Times since 1983.  You can search by movie title, by genre (historical, mystery, comedy..), by director, or, in the case of foreign films, by country of origin.  These reviews are sophisticated and high quality.  They are by leading established film critics, and edited by The New York Times.

Rotten Tomatoes


This fun site covers a very large number of a wide range of movies--from commerical to art films.  To search for movie reviews, click on "movies" and, under "Film Preview" search by movie name.  Then, click on "Review".  You can choose to sort the review results by "Source", "Critic", "Date", or "Rating".  While you're there, check out a favorite star with a "celeb" search, or track down reviews of your favorite video game!

Senses of Cinema


This is a sophisticated online journal for film.  It often looks at the society and the political system in which a film is produced or in which a director has produced his or her body of work.  In "Search the entire S of C site", you can search by movie title.  For in-depth articles on master directors, it is best to click at page top: "great directors".

Baruch Database Sources

Finding Reviews of Books, Movies, and Music, ctd

MasterFile or Academic Search Premier

- Advantages of MasterFile or Academic Search for reviews: A relatively easy search.

- Disadvantages of MasterFile of Academic Search for reviews: Reviews in some publications--most notably The New York Times--are not available in these databases in full text version).  However, these database provide "Find it! options at CUNY" links to other sources, esp. Lexis-Nexis Academic.

Search Tips

- See "Baruch Databases": "Getting into the Databases."

- Do an "Advanced Search" For search terms, use the book author's name and then either 1) the full title or 2) two adjacent, distinctive words from the title.  You can experiment to see which works in a given case.  Don't use quotation marks.  Next, in "Document Type", click "book review".


-Advantages of LEXIS NEXIS for reviews--A large number of magazines and newspapers--local, national and international--are available in full text versions.

-Disadvantages of LEXIS NEXIS for reviews--The search can be more complex and cumbersome and the display format of the search results can be more awkward to scroll through.  Often, though, the benefits in finding full texts make this source very much worth it!

Tips for Search

-See "Baruch Databases" for how to access these databases"

-Do a "Guided Search" 1) In "Select a News Category" choose "Arts and Sports News" 2)In "Select a News Source" choose "Book, Movie and Play Reviews" If you know the publication, click "Source List" and then click on the publication name in the list. 3) In "Enter Search Terms" give the book author in on search box and either the full title --or two distinctive, adjacent words of the title -- in another box.  Don't use quotation marks. 4) If you can, "Enter Date Range."

--If you don't find the review you hope to find, try "General News" in "Select a News Search" and "Major Papers" or "Magazines or Journals" in "Select a News Source."  Sometimes reviews end up here.