Skip to Main Content

English 301 - Spring, 2024 - Prof. Coleman


Direct URL for this page:

Accessing materials from off-campus (including Resident Halls if I recall correctly):

  1. New - "Open Athens" (mostly invisible)
  2. LibKey Nomad 
  3. Directly from within the Libraries' website (you will have to authenticate)
  4. Via GlobalProtect, the campus VPN (if you use it)

Note: the "information artifact" assignment is under the box with my photo, beneath the search handout.

Spring 2024 Update: New/Newish Helpful Library Resources and Services

JSTOR  - we have continuing access to ALL of JSTOR's journal content (including the Security Studies and Sustainability thematic collections)! This was originally set to end in June 2023, but has been extended as a permanent subscription. 

Review: Your Search Toolkit

Searching Tool Kit:

(download topic/keyword handout located in the box to the left)

Keywords and Synonyms - Search Terms:

Consider wider and/or narrower terms as well as direct synonyms.

Example: You are writing a paper on the "Broken Windows" theory of crime. What are some possible keywords that might find you some good books/article son what it is, how and if it works, and its positive and negative aspects?






Hmmm. Can Generative AI help me with this? Let's ask ChatGPT-3 (The -3 matters...) 



Truncation/Wildcards - Used to locate plurals and variants (usually, but not always, an asterisk *):





Phrase Searching - Used to look for a very specific combination of words:



Connectors and Intersections (AND, OR etc.) (aka Venn diagrams or Boolean operators):   

  three-way Venn diagram of things that are mammals, things that jump, and things that swim


AND - Things that jump AND Things that swim = ???

OR - Things that jump OR Things that swim = ???

(There is also NOT/AND NOT  - Things that jump NOT things that swim =   . Note that this can be dangerous to use, i.e., what if you "not'ed" out Rabbit* for example, and the author of absolutely best article ever is Roger Rabbit or Jessica Rabbit?!)

Also - can you think of a creature that meets all three criteria, whose name might go in the very middle of the Venn diagram where all three characteristics overlap?



Grouping (and putting it all together!):

One box:      "broken windows" (polic* OR crim*)

(Note: after the initial search you may decide to search    "broken window*" (police* OR policing)  instead if you get too many results that are not relevant because of other terms from that stem, i.e. policy, policies (although they may be relevant with this particular search!))


Multiple boxes (often in Advanced Search mode):










Downloadable Handout: Keyword Search Strategy

Locating Articles from Magazines

These databases will help you find articles from non-academic publications. Once you put in your search terms and get your results, you can use the filtering options in the lefthand menu column and select Source Types to narrow your results to publications from popular magazines, etc. Note that Readers' Guide Retrospective can be used for getting a historical view of topics.  We'll learn more about the differences between the various kinds of publications in our second library day class.

Review: Web Searching


About Google Search

Advanced Search - look at the bottom right of the screen

About Advanced Search 

Searching with Operators/Field codes: Direct Advanced Search 

Reverse Image Searchng - Google image searching / TinEye

Evaluating Information on the Web (and elsewhere)

We're going to quickly review four strategies for evaluating information you find on the web:

  • Vertical Reading
  • Horizontal Reading
  • The SIFT Strategy

Evaluating Information: Vertical Reading

Vertical Reading/Evaluation: 

Locating a webpage of interest, then focusing on reviewing other information on that same site. What does the originating source have to say? What information can you glean from it to help you decide whether it is reliable and/or appropriate for your purposes?  

Evaluating Information: Lateral Reading


Lateral Reading/Evaluation (taken directly from

Vertical reading focusses on where your resource is found – a website, TiKTok creator, newspaper, think tank, etc. You review information on that site to make a judgement about if the group/person behind the resource and the resource itself is appropriate for your purposes and how you may want to use it (consider authority and perspective, etc.). Lateral reading requires a bunch of open tabs as you investigate the group/creator based on information that you find elsewhere though other sources, using tools such as library catalogs and article databases, newsmedia sources, search engines, governmental sources, and more.

  • What organization is behind this information?
    • Do you know anything about this organization already?

  • What can you learn about the organization by reading laterally?
    • Search for and scan/read relevant information (this is where all the new tabs come in!)

  • What sources did you use to learn about who is behind this information?
    • How do you know that these are trustworthy sources?

  • Based on this information, how reliable is this source of information? Explain.



SIFT: The Four Moves (taken directly from

There’s a theme that runs through all of these moves: they are about reconstructing the necessary context to read, view, or listen to digital content effectively…. Finally, when evidence is presented with a certain frame — whether a quote or a video or a scientific finding — sometimes it helps to reconstruct the original context in which the photo was taken or research claim was made. It can look quite different in context!

In some cases these techniques will show you claims are outright wrong, or that sources are legitimately “bad actors” who are trying to deceive you. But in the vast majority of cases they do something just as important: they reestablish the context that the web so often strips away, allowing for more fruitful engagement with all digital information.”

  • Stop
    • Immediately stop. Do you know the source? What’s its reputation, and the reputation of the claim? Identify that (i.e., through Lateral and Vertical Reading) before you start to read it.
    • If you get too lost in tangents when you’re trying to figure things out in your lateral reading, stop. Think about why you are doing this – your purpose may influence how deeply you want to search.

  • Investigate the Source
    • Who was the original source? What is their authority, perspective, and agenda? What do you think was the purpose in putting this information out?

  • Find Better Coverage
    • Sometimes you may want to focus on the claim in a resource instead of the resource. Look up the topic via more than one qualified source. Keep in mind that you don’t have to agree with the claim – you are investigating it and you may or may not use it for your own purposes, always noting the source and the context (i.e. you might contextualize information from an advocacy group differently than from a peer-reviewed academic article).

  • Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media Back to the Original Source
    • Use tools such as Google Image Search and time-limited searching to trace concepts back to their origins (or as much as possible!).
    • Is the resource you are evaluating cherry-picking from the original? Is the claim distorted or adapted into misinformation?
WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us