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English: 76-100/101 - Interpretation & Argument: Eating/Farming Practices

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Library Session Activity

Readers or information consumers recognize or attribute authority differently for authors of various sources.

Outcome:  Exploring factors that constitute credible authorship

Activity:  Exploring Authority

A.  Look at the following sources and rank their credibility from most credible to least:

  1. Geographies of Food
  2. Genetic Engineering Benefits
  3. Genetically modified plants & human health

B. What factors did you consider for each of the sources above.

Research inquiry starts with one question and ends with many.  Here we will learn to identify steps that can be taken to enhance research inquiry.

Outcome:  Analyze how a research might identify arguments or additional questions in order to build a research inquiry. 


A.  List 3 core arguments presented in the video above.

B. List 3 research questions that need further investigation ("gaps").  How did you identify these questions?

C. How did you identify the arguments and additional questions?

Here you will look at ways to identify scholarly conversations and consider how they are constructed.

Outcome: Study various conversation mediums in order to identify scholarly conversations and how they take place in the studied sources?


A.  Compare the following 2 videos:

How is the conversation presented in these videos?

B. Evaluate the arguments presented in the sources above.  List 2 possible questions or statements that may contribute to the conversation.

Understanding that searching requires the evaluation of various information sources and the ability to consider different strategies.

Outcome:  Use available search tools to construct various search strategies.


1.  Use the "padlet" tool on the right to identify key concepts or terms that you would use to research this topic.

2.  Use one of the databases in the "Finding Articles & More" box at the bottom of this guide to find and list 3 information sources using the keywords you provided.

3. Compare your search terms with terms suggested by the database:

  • how do they differ?
  • where the suggested terms helpful? why or why not?
  • how else might you improve your search terms?
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Finding Books

If you are looking for books that are owned by Carnegie Mellon University, use our library catalog, CAMEO.  It is the library catalog and is the best way to find books, microfilm, videos, and other materials owned by the library.  It is not where you will find journal articles.

Here are some basic tips for searching library catalogs:

-- Whenever possible, use Advanced Search because it allows you to control how your topic is searchedThe default CAMEO search is a keyword search; to build a more specific search, use the advanced search option.  If you want tips for how to build searches, see the CAMEO Help with Search Operators page.  These tips work in other library catalogs as well.

-- Select "Match All", "Match Any", or "Match No") Terms to combine the search terms and try various search fields.

Here are some examples:

  • Farm (as a Subject) AND Politics (as a Subject)
  • Farm (as All Fields) AND Economics (as a Subject)
  • History (as a Subject) AND Farming (as All Fields)

-- View the full-record and note of the subject headings used in a catalog, usually listed as "Subjects".

This is an example of a record:

NOTE:  Some times a record would have only one subject heading, but if you click on the subject heading, you will be able to browse other books that will lead to more subject headings.

Important: Once you find a book you think you would like, note the location and the call number.  You will need both of these pieces of information to locate the book.


Still can't find what you need?

If you are looking for a book that we do not own, try the following:

  1. Check the University of Pittsburgh's Catalog PITTCat+: you are able to borrow books by getting a borrowing card (you'll need a valid CMU ID card). 
  2. Check E-Z Borrowgives you access to books from libraries in Pennsylvania.  You'll need your Andrew ID number, which is the second set of numbers on the bottom of your CMU ID card.
  3. Check Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (public library).  You can get a library card for free.  You'll need a proof of your current address.

You can also check other local library catlogs (see list).

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Finding Articles & More

Selecting the appropriate databases is difficult, since many are multi-disciplinary. The best approach is to think of relevant subject guides to your topic and check there for database suggestions.  See the Relevant Guides box on the right.

One possible approach is to search specialized journals.  You can do this online by going to e-Journals A-Z and looking for a journal by title, then searching within the journal.  If you don't have a specific title in mind, you can enter a broad word like "food", or relevant terms to generate a list of titles with these words.

To search inside the journal, click on the link below.  Follow the link to the vendor that provides our access.  The journal will open.  You can then search just that journal.  In some cases, you may need to select the option to "search this [or within] publication." Here are some suggested titles:

-- American farmer (Baltimore, Md. : 1819)  (2155-8671)
    Alternate Title: Farmer
-- Farm journal (Philadelphia. 1956)  (0014-8008)
-- Farm management (Kenilworth)  (0014-8059)
-- Farm weekly

Note:  For articles/secondary materials, check out the tabs for suggested databases.  If you cannot locate the journals in our libraries or databases (e-journals), you can always get them via Interlibrary Loan.



Search this database for full-text articles with historic multidisiplinary coverage. In some cases, current issues are included.


This database is also a collection of historic and current coverage of full-text scholarly articles

Search Project MUSE®


This is a selection of Internet Resources relevant to farming:

  • USDA's databases - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a great list of relevant databases (free and subscription) but also provides a list of websites that are focused on agriculture. 
  • USDA's Economic Resear Service - This website lists two major sources of research on food and nutrition.  Research Reports & Articles, and RIDGE Project.

If you have sources to suggest, please email me at

>>> Please refer to C is for Cookies for other relevant sources (use the pull down menu to focus on topics within this subject).

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