Research for Essay Writing in English

This libguide was created to provide information resources and tools for the students of the Essay Writing course ENG 1100

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • Use various search platforms and databases, based on needs and type of inquiry
  • Apply filters to refine and limit search results
  • Employ subject-specific research guides to find resources and tools in your discipline

1. Omni

Omni is a discovery tool that allows you to search a large portion of the library's collections.  Use Omni to find books, e-books, journal articles, and much more.

For more details about Omni and all its features, consult its dedicated guide How to use Omni

Finding Books in Omni (simple search):

  • Start with a keyword search.
  • On the results screen, refine by format Books
  • Once you find a book of interest, you proceed by:
    • E-books:
      • Follow the link in the record to access the book.
      • If you are located off-campus, you will be asked to identify yourself.
    • For print books of interest:
      • If the book is available, you can request the item to be picked up through our "contactless" service. 
      • If the book is unavailable, you can place a hold on it.


Finding Articles in Omni (simple search):

  • Start with a keyword search.
  • On the results screen, refine by format Articles.
    • You can also limit your articles to "Peer-reviewed" only.
  • Once you find an article of interest, you proceed by:
    • Following the link in the record to access the article. (If you are located off-campus, you will be asked to identify yourself)

Don't forget that the documents you retrieve are solely based on the keywords you input into the search box.

2. Finding journal articles in databases

Specialized Databases by Discipline:

You may want to search some subject specific databases. Start by identifying the broad subject area of your topic and then consult the appropriate discipline specific research guide.

General Multidisciplinary Databases:

Multidisciplinary databases are very good starting points as they provide you with samples of resources in a wide variety of subject areas.

Tips and Tricks

  • Things to consider before you start your research:

    • What kind of information sources will I need?
    • How much information do I need?
      • A few facts or as much as I can find?
    • Which time period should be covered by my search:
      • the current year? the last five years?
    • Finally, it's important to remember that you should have a sound grasp of your topic before you start your research.  If you can't easily discuss or explain your topic to friends and/or family, we recommend that you gather more background information.  Any gaps in understanding will cause issues in formulating your research question and understanding the literature you will gather to write your final assignment.

  • Document every step of the process:

    • Note the keywords that were used and the databases that were searched. Should you need to repeat your search, you will be able to do so quickly and easily. 
  • Start with a broad search:

    • It's easy to narrow down your list of results once you have consulted the type of information you are retrieving. Some applicable filters are the date of publication, language, document type.
  • Know what is required for the successful completion of the assignment:

    • Make sure you have a firm grasp of the assignment's requirements and the type of information you need to retrieve.
    • Assignment instructions will inform your research plan.
  • Plan to succeed:

    • Make a plan of attack to complete your research. 
    • Identify key databases and set timelines for information retrieval. 
    • You want to have most of your documents before beginning the writing process.


If you have questions, or if you run into problems that the guide does not address, e-mail Catherine Lachaîne at


This online guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. This page is attributed to Catherine Lachaîne.