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Help for RHE 306/309 Students

RHE 306/309 Research help

What can you ask a librarian?
  • Topic development help
  • Finding scholarly and popular sources and data
  • Evaluating information for credibility
  • Ethically using information

Use these resources to learn more about a broad topic as well as who cares about a topic and why.

Brainstorm keywords:

  • What words do people use when talking about my topic?
  • What are people arguing about?
  • Who cares about my topic?

Organize with this keyword grid or use this tool to generate keywords

Choose a place to search:


  • Credibility: 
    Who is the author? Is he/she an expert on the subject, a representative from a credible organization, a columnist for a newspaper? What gives the author authority to represent that side of the controversy?  (ex: US Secretary of Commerce? A lawyer? A reporter for a student newspaper?)
    • TIP: If there is no information on the author, try Googling that person. If the name is common one, use a keyword from the topic (ex. Rebecca Blank and Department of Commerce). Many web sites won’t have individual authors listed so ask the same questions of the organization as a whole.
  • Source bias: 
    Does the source (newspaper, magazine, web site) generally lean to one side of controversies (examples: liberal vs. conservative; free market economics vs. government regulated economy)?
  • Accuracy
    Is this information true? If it’s a viewpoint, did they use facts to support it? Are the facts accurate? Where did they get the information? Can you find this information elsewhere to confirm its accuracy?
  • Currency
    Is it current enough for your research?

Video: Credibility and Bias

Evaluate Sources (both print and Web sources)

NoodleTools (formats bibliographies in MLA for you)
All About Plagiarism tutorial 
Writing Center (in the Learning Commons @PCL): Drop-in or make an appointment with a trained writing consultant

Use these screenshots to search LexisNexis, a database that includes major newspapers and magazines. Also watch this video of a search.

Use this guide to find information about issues local to Texas, to Austin and to the University of Texas: Research Local Issues

It may be helpful to start by reading some local newspapers to see how your topic is talked about in Austin or another region in Texas. 

Here are the websites to some publications that you may not know about that could help you discover more information about Austin or Texas. 

  • Austin American Statesman (limited access on website; use LexisNexis to read every article) - our major newspaper here in Austin. Covers the Texas legislature very closely. 
  • The Austin Chronicle - local alternative weekly in Austin that covers politics and local issues. 
  • The Texas Observer - nonprofit media organization in Austin that bills itself as a voice for progressivism. 
  • Texas Monthly (limited access on website; use LexisNexis to read every article) - Magazine covering politics, environment, industry and education in Texas.
  • The Rag (1960s/70s indie press in Austin to be used for a historical perspective; links to our electronic holdings)
  • Texas Tribune - nonprofit media organization in Austin


Elise Nacca
Perry-CastaƱeda (Main) Library (PCL)

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.