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Week 2: Discussion 2

Discussion 2 – Searching for Sources

Learning Objectives Covered

  • Apply academic search process techniques using search engines/databases and Boolean operators to find support for the final paper.


Strong researching skills will benefit you no matter what career you go into. In this discussion, you will share the search process you undertook to find your two sources.

Website Exploration

Before we start talking about the search process, check out these two websites. Spend about 10 minutes on each site and a get a feel for the layout, content, and individual pages.

Have you examined the web pages?


You probably noticed the Northwest Tree Octopus website was fairly well put together, and had a variety of sources and information on it. However, if you pay close attention to some of the smaller details, you can see that it is a joke website (not to mention it’s talking about tree octopi!):

  • The web address. It’s random, and it ends with .net. Websites that end in .net are not very reliable. Websites that end in .org can be reliable, but you want to examine the source to be sure. Websites that end in .edu and .gov are considered to be very reliable.
  • The small, top banner with odd advertisements.
  • If you click on the “blog” link, a slogan on the blog says “Serving the paranoid since 1997.”

All in all, while it’s an amusing site, it’s not credible.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, however, is a government website with updated information. It also cites sources that are easily verified.

Finding Sources

For the paper you are writing in this course, you will need to find at least two academic sources (meaning you found them on ProQuest, and/or they are peer-reviewed). Searching databases is a skill. To learn more about how to effectively search in academic databases are, watch this video from a librarian at the University of Regina. Please note, if you have any questions about what you saw in the video, contact your instructor:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMV7X3W_beg (Links to an external site.)

You can also review this library page (Links to an external site.) about doing research. It has many helpful suggestions and includes information about how to use ProQuest.

Evaluating Sources

Check out this video about evaluating websites:

Video length: 5:46

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6M-ViddtUE (Links to an external site.)

Sources that you find through ProQuest are usually reliable, but you should still consider the following information when examining your sources. If you have questions about a source, contact your instructor for help!


Like any writing project, a discussion post requires some preparation as you figure out what to write about and how you will write about it. Your primary post this week requires one preparation step before you actually start writing.

Prep Work

You need at least two sources for your rough draft (Week 3) and final draft (Week 4). This week you will find those sources.

Before you start this discussion, go to the Library Databases in SHARC and use ProQuest to find two sources for your essay topic. When searching for a source, keep the reasons you listed in Week 1 in mind. Experiment with various key words to find an article that relates to your topic.

Writing Your Post

For your primary post, please share your search process. You can answer any of the following questions:

  • What search terms did you use?
  • Have you ever used Boolean Operators before? How did using Boolean Operators help your search?
  • How long did you spend searching?
  • How many sources did you review before you found the sources you wanted?
  • If you also looked at other sources outside of ProQuest, what sources did you look at? How did you determine they were reliable?
  • What surprised you about the research process?
  • What suggestions would you give a student next module who has never used ProQuest before?

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