Skip to Main Content

ENGL 102 - Cordero: Utopias & Dystopias

Recommended Sources and Searching Tips


engraving from Utopia by Thomas More

This is an engraving from Utopia
by Thomas More
 published in 1516

N.N., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Contacting Tim

Feeling frustrated?

Not finding what you need?

Having trouble using the library databases?

Not sure which search words to use?

Then it’s probably time to a
sk a librarian for some help.

Tim Aman, Reference Services Librarian


If you need immediate help, contact a librarian any time using our online chat service.

24/7 live chatchat 

(Evenings and weekends you may be chatting with a librarian from another college. Ask for an SCC librarian to contact you for follow-up if needed.)

Recommended Sources

The purpose of this research guide is to help students in Janelle Cordero's ENGL 102 class find credible and academic information sources on utopias/dystopias and themes related to the readings.  Here are some core library research databases that will be helpful for most topics.  Ask a librarian if you have trouble selecting the best databases for your particular topic.


Scholarly Encyclopedias - concise, general background information; articles often written by experts who are university professors

  • Credo Reference - article examplesclimate change, Internet addiction, income inequality
  • Gale eBooks - article examplesimmortality, utopia & dystopia, social class prejudice

Periodicals - magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals

Controversial Topics

  • CQ Researcher (in-depth, unbiased reports on political and social issues) - article examplesmanipulating human genes, technology addiction, inequality in America
  • Opposing Viewpoints (reference, news, magazine, and journal articles as well as statistics, videos, audio clips and recommended websites providing pro and con coverage of controversial political and social issues) - article examples:  "Animal-to-human organ transplantation is unethical", "Animal-to-human organ transplantation could benefit humans"


  • eBook Collection - 150,000 ebooks selected for college and university researchers
    Browse the Table of Contents and Index to find the specific information you need.  It's not necessary to read the whole book.

Other Specialized Databases - here are some examples of specialized databases that you may find useful depending on your topic

Other Databases on the Open Web - these aren't library databases but they do contain extensive and credible information

  • ERIC - articles and reports in the field of education
  • Google Scholar - scholarly literature including articles, theses, books, abstracts
  • PubMed - a vast database of global biomedical literature

Advanced Searching Tips

Phrase Searching

  • When searching, use quotation marks to keep phrases together:  "genetic engineering", "income inequality", "climate change"

Field Searching

  • If you have too many results when using the library research databases try changing the search fields.  Here's an example from Academic Search Complete that shows the search fields changed to Subject Terms.  This tells the database to only find articles that are really about that subject, rather than just mentioning the words in a minor way.

Wild Card Searching 

  • The asterisk (*) can be used as a wild card to retrieve different forms of a word.  For example, adult* will retrieve adult, adults, adulthood.

Evaluating information and domain searching

WWW Test - ask these questions when determining whether a source is reliable, especially when Googling.

  • Who's the author?  Is the author an expert?
  • What's the nature of the information?  Is it objective or biased?  Is it based on careful research?
  • When was it written?  Is it appropriately up-to-date?

Note:  Evaluating information can be more complicated than answering these simple questions. If you need help thinking through the evaluation process, ask a librarian or your instructor.

Domain Searching

Try limiting your Google search to a particular domain (such as .edu or .gov which are restricted domains). You may find more reliable information.  Here are a couple of search examples:

"climate change"

"human organs" animals