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WGS 101 (Schroeder): Introduction to Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Step 1 - Brainstorm possible search words

Before you begin to search, start by putting together a list of possible words or phrases that might help you find information on your topic.

We'll brainstorm together this kind of list for the topic "Don't Say Gay" laws.

Step 2 - Different formats of information

Information comes in different formats, and the different formats influence the type of information we find.


For instance, a news article about Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law is going to present information in a different way than an article in the Advocate Magazine.  

Scholarly Information:

Books provide overviews of topics, and take considerable time to be published. It is too soon to find an academic book that deals with "Don't Say Gay" laws, but we can find books that deal with discrimination against homosexuals in the United States.

Journal articles focus in on very specific research topics or critiques. Journal articles can get published faster than books, but there is still a significant amount of time for writing and evaluation before they are published.

Step 3: What are scholarly sources?

Scholarly sources are those which:

  • 1) are written by scholars
  • 2) vetted in some way for accuracy
  • 3) introduce new concepts, or new ways of thinking about existing concepts.

Finding Books

Finding Scholarly Articles

Fogler Library subscribes to thousands of journals, and the best way to search for, and access, scholarly journal articles on your topic is to use appropriate library databases. Here are some suggested library databases where you can find journal articles:

Note:  Journals that have a peer review process, where other experts have reviewed and verified the article, are generally preferable to use.

While not a database (no people actually make choices about what is included) Google Scholar does allow interdisciplinary discovery of information sources.  Follow the directions described below to get the most full text access.

Example from Statista

Infographic: The State of LGBTQ Education in the U.S. | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Other Information Sources

You may also want to search for sources on the open web (Google).  When searching, think carefully about the kinds of sources you want to find.  Use the "site" command to limit your searches to non-profits sites ( or sites at colleges and universities (

How To's

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