Research Guide for

ENGC 1101 College Writing (Contreras-Sawyer)

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Credo Reference
Credo logoCredo Reference contains dictionaries, general and subject encyclopedias, biographies, handbooks, atlases, and more.

Gale eBooks
Gale eBooks is a collection of full-text e-books including encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books in biography, history, literature, medicine, and more.

Image Focused Databases

ARTstorArtstor is a cross-disciplinary image database. It offers collections of approximately 300,000 art images and descriptive information covering art, architecture and archeology. ARTstor's accompanying software tools will support a wide range of pedagogical and research uses including: viewing and analyzing images through features such as zooming and panning, saving groups of images online for personal or shared uses, and creating and delivering presentations both online and offline.

Project MUSE
Provides full text articles from journals that cover literature, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, and more.

Library of Congress: Documenting America
The photographs in the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944.

City of San Francisco Museum
The museum page on Dorothea Lange's pictures at Raphael Weill.

Social Context


The setting in which something occurs. We all act in a certain way based on cultural norms. For example, I would behave differently around a group of friends than I would around a classroom of students. These norms help us relate to others giving us rules and laws that all can follow. They are almost always considered positive, but can sometimes affect societies and groups in negative ways. (Think of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, US internment of the Japanese) 


  • How did their everyday lives change?
  • How did this affect their education?
  • How did it change their family unit? 
  • How were their social structures changed?

Helpful Databases

Academic Search Premier
Academic Search Premier is a multi-disciplinary database designed specifically for academic institutions. It includes articles from academic journals, popular magazines, and major newspapers.

JSTOR contains hundreds of scholarly journals from all disciplines. Full text coverage varies by journal.

Salem History
Salem History is an online database of full-text reference e-books and primary sources on American history and world history.

Historical Context


Historical context reflects the time in which something takes place or was created and how that influences the way you interpret it. In other words, it is the events that took place around something which help you to understand that thing.  ( )

Questions to Ask:

  • What was going on in the world?
  • In what type of society did the event take place?
  • Where did the ideas for the event come from?
  • Who was involved?
  • What would the people involved in the event have to gain or lose?
  • How was life for those involved different after the event compared to prior to the event?

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photo of DavidDavid Vrieze Daniels
Reference and Instruction Librarian

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