Skip to Main Content

First Year Seminars: FYS 101-4 From the Earth

Class Activity


As a group, explore your assigned resource and get a feel for how it works. You'll have about 5 minutes to experiment with some searches and get a sense for how it works. To close, you'll be asked to demonstrate your search tool to the rest of the class. The following questions might help you structure your presentation:

  • What types of sources did you find with this search tool? How could you tell?
  • What does someone need to know about using this resource?
  • When might you use this search tool as part of your research process?

Group Assignments

For the End of Class

To help us get a sense of how you're doing, please use this online form to tell us what you're taking away from today's session and what still feels fuzzy.

If you'd like someone to get in touch with you and follow-up at all, feel free to include your Gettysburg email.

The Research Process

Finding Background Information

Searching for Books and eBooks

MUSCAT Plus is the search box on the library's homepage, and it's the easiest way to check a huge swath of our print and online collections. You can see an annotated version of the search box below with icons that explain some of its advanced search features.

Searching for Scholarly Encyclopedias

Gale Reference eBooks is a collection of online encyclopedias that can provide valuable context and background information about your topic. The entries you find shouldn't be too long, but they'll help you brainstorm new keywords, consider new directions for your research, and even identify additional sources worth reading.

Searching for Scholarly Articles

The library provides access to more than 300 different databases, but we'll point you toward a few that should provide what you need for this research project.

Locating Primary Sources

Engaging with primary source materials allows you to apply what you've learned from the existing literature and introduce your own thoughts and interpretations to the scholarly conversation.

Depending on the kind of primary source material you want, you'll probably find yourself looking in different places.

Search for Primary Sources in the Library

You can search MUSCAT Plus for collections of primary source materials in print or online.

Digitized Collections Online

Public Opinion and Discourse

Apply - Citing Your Sources

The library's citation guide provides information on a variety of styles. We also have the manuals for each style at the Research Help Desk.

The Purdue OWL is also very helpful for MLA, APA, or Chicago styles.