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A Writer's Handbook

Using the Library for Research

While this Handbook takes advantage of the JSCC Libraries in explaining the research process, generally speaking, most library websites have similar features to those explained here:

  • Discovery service or search box
  • Guides to resources
    • Subject guides
    • LibGuides
    • Subject specialists
  • Databases organized according to subject content
  • Various online options to seek assistance from a professional librarian

The JSCC Libraries

The JSCC Libraries Website is accessible from any computer, tablet, or mobile device as long as you have a connection to the internet and your MyJSCC username.

The links below provide self-guided tutorials on using the library website for your research.  We recommend you access them in the order shown.

Why Use the JSCC Libraries?

The JSCC library contains an abundance of online books, journals, and articles that will aid you in the development of support for your essays in any class.  Using the JSCC library is the most accurate and dependable way of using sources required for academic essays and research papers.

Searching for information in the library can be as easy as typing your subject in the Search Everything box on the home page, but you can refine your search to look for more specific information. Sometimes students give up searching on the JSCC page because they type in too specific search terms – the key is to keep trying search terms or ask a librarian!  Librarians are there to help you find any information you need.  All four campuses have librarians that are ready and able to help. 

The library website also has many options for contacting a librarian including:

  • Chat feature
  • Searchable Knowledge Base
  • Forms to request library and research assistance

Example of a Search for General Academic Support for General Issues

Beginning the Search: 

Say you are completing a paper on college student retention and ideas to keep students in college.

Your thesis is this:

Because college students seem to be leaving college at higher rates than in previous years, academic advising should become more intrusive to help students adjust to the pressures they are facing.

Using the search terms “college student retention” in the Search Everything library box will return the following results.  Note:  these are just the first four articles or documents that are pulled up, so the search could be refined by date, subject, or a number of factors on the left-hand side of the search area.:

Image of Search Results


Refining the Search:

When looking through sources, help yourself by using clues to see what you want to look through:

  • Title:  does the title sound like what I am trying to say in my paper?
  • Chapters in books or Subheadings in long articles:  do the chapters point me closer to what I am looking for?  do subheadings help me gravitate toward a section of the articles?
  • Abstracts: all of the journals and articles in the library, when clicked, will display an abstract which is a short paragraph detailing the contents of the article/journal/book.  does the abstract align with your paper topic and point?

These quick assessments can help you fine tune your reading areas and help you dismiss sources that will not be useful at all without having to read the full article or book to find that out.

Notice, just a quick survey of the sources above shows me I will probably not need to click on the article “A Preliminary Investigation of a Tribal College's Educational Supports for Individuals with Disabilities” because it is too specific to anything I want to look at.  However, the first and second sources look interesting, so I will check them out.

After clicking on the first source, I see that it has chapters and I can click on only the chapters that may apply to my points in the paper.

Image of Contents for First Item in Search Results

There are several chapters that I might want to check out depending on my paper or paragraph focus.

Getting Help With the Search

  • If you have trouble with your first search terms, refine them, or ask your teacher or the librarians for assistance.