Research Guide for

ENGC 1101 College Writing (Heinsohn)


CRAAP test at Widener Universtiy -

Helpful Sites for Evaluating and Triangulating Advocacy Websites

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) - The BBB has been around for over 110 years to help consumers identify trustworthy businesses. 
  • Charity Navigator - Rating Charities/non-profits/advocacy sites for over 20 years. 
  • GuideStar - Provide ratings for non-profit organizations

Helpful Sites for Evaluating and Colleges

 Niche - Provides a list of best colleges, but also allows you to search colleges of interest
U.S. News and World Reports College Search - Search colleges around the country
Princeton Review
Colleges of Distinction
US Department Of Education College Scorecard - This site provides statistics on colleges and universities from around the country based on the most current data available (usually trails current date by one year).

Use Lateral Reading to Spot Misinformation/Disinformation

The best way to look for misinformation is to start by looking outside of the article itself! This process is called lateral reading. 

Lateral Reading Strategies:
  • Find information on the author: Google the author's name. Do they have a Wikipedia page? A LinkedIn page? A biography on a university or legitimate news site? Read through this information. What is the author's education and experience? Have they written for websites/newspapers/magazines that you are familiar with and trust?
  • Check some fact-checking sites for help: Many claims have already been fact-checked for you. Try these sites:
  • Find information about that website on Google: A search string that excludes results from that website will be helpful (example: New York Times 
  • Triangulate: Read through at least three articles on the same subject. These three stories will probably vary in the information that is presented. Taken together though, you should have a good idea of what the truth on the issue is. Think of it like the Venn diagram below. The green area is where all the articles agree. This is the information that should be trusted. 
  • Find information on the website using Wikipedia: Wikipedia isn't a source you want to cite in your research paper, but it is helpful for learning about a website or news source. Oftentimes, you will find information on who funds the site or political leanings that are common. 

Find Background Information

Article databases search for journal, magazine, and newspaper articles. Reference databases search reference books and encyclopedias. Use these databases to find background information on your topic. These are good places to find broad information relating to your topic. Note: You will not use these to find specific, regional information on your topic.

General OneFile (Gale)
General OneFile logoSearch for information in mainstream, popular, specialized, and scholarly journals, 5 major newspapers, and 89 wire services.

MasterFILE Complete
Multi-disciplinary database of general reference publications. Coverage varies.

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.

Book Search

Book Search searches the listing of books and ebooks available at the Normandale Library.

Note: Book Search results include both online ebooks and paper books available for pickup at the library. Follow these instructions to request a paper book (PDF) be held for pickup.

Combined Search

Combined Search helps find articles, books, and videos from the library collection.

Note: Combined Search results include both online content and paper books available for pickup at the library. Follow these instructions to request a book (PDF) be held for pickup.


Ask a Librarian

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Call, e-mail, or chat with a librarian for more research assistance. We're happy to help!

  (952) 358-8290


Luke MosherReference and Instruction

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.

Access Databases from Off Campus

Access Databases from Off Campus
In order to access databases and other Library resources from off campus, login with your StarID and password when prompted.  Off-campus access to library databases is only available to current Normandale students, staff, and faculty.

Cite your Sources (MLA)

MLA Quick Guide
See MLA citation examples for the most common types of sources (8th edition).

MLA Formatting and Style Guide (OWL at Purdue)
This website offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, and the Works Cited page. Uses MLA 9th edition.