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Nonfiction Writing Program in the Department of English

Resources for students in Brown University's Nonfiction Writing Program.

Research Help During Library Closure

Although the libraries are currently closed due to the COVID-19 emergency, I am still available to help you with your research needs and other library questions. Please see my contact information in the box on this page. I can help you via email, or connect with myself or one of my colleagues via Chat.


This website is designed to provide you with sources of inspiration, trusted reference materials, and guide you to helpful scholarly databases as you craft your essays.

Here you will find tips for searching the web more effectively along with annotated lists of materials available in the Brown Library and online.

Optimize Your Search

Searching online

  • Google Tips and Tricks: Google's guide to using their search engine effectively. Includes boolean searching, wild cards, and more.
  • Using Wikipedia responsibly: Tips on using Wikipedia from Cornell University.
  • Primary vs. Secondary Sources: A helpful guide from the University of California Santa Cruz, University Library.
  • Peer Review: An excellent overview of the peer review process in scholarly publishing, its benefits, and its shortcomings.  Written by the Linux Information Project.

Brown Library Resources

  • Josiah, Brown's library catalog: Find books and other resources held here on campus, and access databases the library subscribes to.
  • Academic Search Premier: The best database with which to begin a general search. For additional databases in a variety of fields, see the full list here.
  • Google Scholar: Google Scholar uses the Google search engine to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports. Google Scholar results include links to Brown University Library resources. These links will appear automatically if you search from an on-campus computer or use the link above; otherwise, off-campus you must go to "Scholar Preferences" and search for "Brown". For further information see Google Scholar FAQ.