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English: 76-10X Series (First-Year Writing): Start Here

This guide contains a series of guides designed to help students enrolled in the 76-10X series complete their assignment according to the BEAM framework.


  • Make sure you authenticate using your Andrew ID after you click on My Account, on the library website.  This will help get a full experience of what the library has to offer (full-text, automatic login to databases, etc.).

  • Check that your Google Scholar is set up to recognize Carnegie Mellon Library resources.  Here are the instructions for linking Google Scholar to our libraries.

  • If you are working off-campus, check that you are set up properly.  Here are the instructions for connecting from off-campus.

Contact Information:

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Ethan Pullman
Pronouns: he/him/his
410A Hunt Library
Frew Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412 268 5018


Subject searching vs. keywords.

This video explains the difference: 

Subject searching vs keywords.

Searching Like a Scholar

This video explains the basics of effective searching -


The following videos explain how to read and select sources:

I. How to read Academic Sources:

II. How to select sources:

Introduction (Kevin deLaplante of Critical Thinker Academy)


Benefits of using citation tools:

Generative AI tools at CMU:

  • Keenious

    Keenious is a resource recommender tool designed to aid in the identification and discovery of scholarly research. It analyzes writing from text documents and PDFs to recommend the most relevant articles and topics to explore using artificial intelligence combined with conventional search algorithms. For more information, visit this guide.

  • scite 

    Scite is an AI-enhanced research support platform for discovering and evaluating scientific articles. It allows users to see how publications have been cited, by providing the context of the citation and classifying whether it provides supporting or contrasting evidence. The AI Assistant utilizes ChatGPT functionality with reference check processes. Additional…

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Here are some links to major citation-style manuals from our libraries:

For more on citing see our Citing Print & Digital Sources on our Reference Shelf Guide.

Good information sources with examples on citing and general writing:

Citing AI, ChatGPT, and similar tools

CMU Libraries recognize the importance of AI as a tool for learning and its responsible use in the classroom. When using any Generative AI tools (for example ChatGPT, GrammarlyGo, Bard, Dall-E, etc.).  These tools are not exempt from citing as you would for any information sources you use in your research.

Citation guides suggested here should provide guidance for citing these tools.  Consult them first.  However, below is a list of links that provide examples of the major styles that can help you get started (listed alphabetically):

We provide support to the following management tools:


The quality of your search and results depend on your search strategy:

  1. keep track of your search terms (they will change based on the database)
  2. keep track of the database (so you are not using the wrong strategy)
  3. notice suggested subjects and ways to limit your searches in databases (they can save you quite a bit of work)


This research guide is designed according to the BEAM framework.  As such, guides for each section are constructed to adhere to the following format:
Background Sources - Students are guided to materials that provide topic overviews, such as encyclopedias, handbooks, and core books.  These are primarily secondary sources.  The main focus of sources in this category of materials is that they are used for information that is well-established in a field.
Exhibit Sources - In contrast, these materials may contain secondary or primary sources.  These materials can be a novel, an interview, data sets, scholarly articles, diaries, and more. These sources are used to interpret or analyze a topic by giving evidence for a claim.  
Argument Sources - Materials in this category are secondary sources.  These sources support exhibit sources that a student selected and essentially constitute a literature review in a paper or context in a presentation.   The main focus of these sources is to argue or build upon a position; they make a claim related to student-proposed topics.
Method Sources - These sources demonstrate how questions and conclusions are reached.  They can be based on prior research (replicated studies) or originally designed (surveys, for example).  They include procedures, theories, and disciplinary definitions, if they are presumed to be unfamiliar to the readers, or are used in a specific context in a student's research. The main focus of these sources is that the sources clearly explain the method used to reach the claim given.
Thus from this point on, each section in a course guide/page will use these headings and reference the types of resources in each of the categories explained here.

NOTE: The remainder of this page provides tips for various types of research assignments.  If you feel that a specific type of assignment has not been addressed here, please contact me with the details and I'll be happy to work on including it in this guide.