The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

A pro who knows-Anne Drake

Anne Drake, coordinator of the learning center on NE Campus, shares her advice on conducting reliable research for classes.

Q: When students begin gathering sources for an academic paper, what are the best means to go about gathering that information?
A: First and foremost, attend a library orientation if it is offered. Most instructors will schedule an orientation for their classes prior to students’ doing the research, and attending one is the fastest way of finding out what resources will be best to use for your assignment.

Our libraries gear our orientations specifically to the assignment and will save students hours of research time by offering tips and suggestions for where to find the best resources.

TCC is fortunate to have librarians on every campus who are passionate about helping students complete their research. They will gladly help students narrow or focus their topic and then guide them to the best resources to use for that topic.

Q: TCC provides databases for students to use during their research. What kind of things can students look for when using these databases?
A: The databases that TCC provides give students on-campus and home access to literally thousands of magazines, newspapers, journals and books in full-text on every topic imaginable. This is where a librarian can really help by pointing out those of our 100-plus databases that are likely to have the best information on the topic the student is researching.

Q: What is the first step in the navigation process?

A: Access our TCC Library home page at and then click on the “Databases” button on the right. If a student accesses this site from home then after selecting the database they wish to search, a login screen will appear and they need to use their WebAdvisor username and password (the same one used for registration and to access Campus Cruiser).

This login is required only once per Internet session.

Q: When citing the sources of the information found on a database, what is the correct format?

A: That all depends on the style the instructor requires. The most common styles are MLA (Modern Language Association), which is used by English and humanities classes, and APA (American Psychological Association), which is used by social sciences classes.

Print and databases sources are cited differently so students should check a style manual (all libraries have these available to students) or visit their campus writing center for help in getting their sources documented correctly.

Q: Many professors limit the number of online sources to two or three. For purposes of citation, is the TCC database considered an Internet source?
A: Although our databases are accessed through the Internet, they are not considered Internet sources. They are really more like the HBO and Cinemax of the Internet.
They provide professionally written and edited content, and access is purchased by the college for students and faculty use.

Our databases provide digitized copies of things that have already appeared in print, so they are as reliable as a print source but delivered electronically.

Q: With mass information readily available online, what types of sources would you avoid?
A: Almost anything you can find free on the Internet. Since there is no one in charge of quality control of most information you will find on the Internet, you can just as easily find a farmer in Kansas writing about the latest open heart surgery techniques as you can find legitimate medical information on the same topic. The best way to ensure the reliability of your sources is to start with the print and electronic resources the library provides.

If you must use Internet resources, it is important that you evaluate them carefully by thinking critically, even suspiciously, about how much the information is to be trusted.
Guides to finding and evaluating reliable information on the Internet can be found using the Internet Resources link on the Library home page (, at the Internet Public Library ( and the Librarian’s Internet Index (

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