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Reading Portfolio (READ 184--Hawes): Home

Use this guide to find sources for your Reading Portfolio


Search Terms

Choosing the correct search terms helps you locate the sources you need.

Examples of broad search terms to use in databases like the Gale Virtual Reference Library.

  • Homelessness
  • Immigration
  • Technology

Examples of more specific search terms to use in Gale, EBSCO, and WorldCat

  • Homelessness studies
  • Immigration California
  • Technology benefits

Using & Finding Books

Why You Use Books:

Use books to read broad overviews and detailed discussions of your topic. 

Where Do I Find Books?

Use WorldCat to discover books, eBooks, videos, and more for your research. Use the search bar below to begin your search:


For complete instructions on using WorldCat check out our WorldCat research guide.

What if MJC Doesn't Have What I Need?

  • If you find materials in WorldCat that you need, but MJC does not own them, you can simply click the Request Item button in WorldCat to have that item sent to you here at MJC.
  • If, however, you need materials that you cannot find in WorldCat, you can request them through our interlibrary loan service.

Finding poetry on the web

Use reference books to find short fiction and poetry

Know your sources

Popular, Substantive, and Scholarly Sources

Unless otherwise instructed by your teacher, you'll probably want to use a variety sources to help you gain a complete understanding of your topic. Sources of information generally fall within three categories. These categories are  Popular, Substantive, and Scholarly (or Peer Reviewed). To use them skillfully you need to be able to identify them and understand their differences.

Picture of popular sources

Popular Sources:

  • Created by journalists, staff writers or freelance writers, and, sometimes, by enthusiasts.
  • Written for the general public.
  • Provides a broad overview of topics a general readership will find entertaining.
  • You'll need to be sure to supplement information from popular sources with articles from substantive and scholarly sources.
Picture of substantive sources

Substantive Sources:

  • Written by experts or credentialed journalists.
  • Written for an educated audience.
  • Provides credible information of relevance to an educated and concerned public.
  • Substantive information is a great choice for community college students, because it is both credible and easy to understand.
Picture of scholarly sources

Scholarly Sources:

  • Written by scholars/experts whose credentials can be evaluated.
  • Written for other scholars, it communicates specialized and discipline-specific information, often reporting on original research and experimentation.
  • Scholarly information is a great choice for college students, though it can be challenging to read because of its scholarly language.
  • Scholarly sources are often called academic or peer-reviewed.

Find articles in library databases

All of these resources are free for MJC students, faculty, & staff.

Search using the Key Search Words in the left hand column of this guide, or use words more specific to your topic.

If you're working from off campus, you'll need to sign in. Once you click on the name of a database, simply enter your student ID (without the W) and your six-digit birth date. 

Find streaming films in library databases

Your librarian

Susan Cassidy's picture
Susan Cassidy
Research Librarian
Modesto Junior College

East Campus Library & Learning Center
435 College Avenue
Modesto, CA 95350

(209) 575-6807

Spring 2019 Research Help Desk hours-East Campus only
Mondays 12-1
Tuesdays 11-1
Wednesdays 1-3
Thursdays 11-12

Ask a Librarian

Getting help has never been easier. Your MJC librarians are here to help.

 Call:: (209) 575-6230
 Text: (209) 710-5270
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