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CASC 206 Advanced C-E Scholarship

Guiding Questions & What to Research

Guiding questions about the organization

  • What do you know about the community partner/organization?
  • What does the organization's website tell you about their interests, history, types of projects they complete, involvement with other organizations in the community, etc?  
  • Are there any news articles about the community partner/organization?
  • Has the organization done similar projects to the one you are working on with them?

Guiding questions about the project

  • What do you know about the project? 
  • What have scholars/researchers written on the issues this project touches on? 
  • What scholarly material is out there that might help us better understand the complexities of the issues within the project?
  • Have other organizations done similar projects and what can we learn from their successes and failures?
  • What other questions or research needs do we have about the methodology and implementation of the project (e.g. how to implement a survey or conduct participant observations, etc.)?

Image source: "Diamond" from

Choosing the right database

Ask yourself what type of source is more likely to have the information you need and how will I use this source?:

  • News articles?
  • Scholarly journal articles?
  • Empirical studies?
  • Data and statistics?
  • Primary documents?
  • Guidance on methods for conducting research (e.g. how to create surveys, conduct interviews, lead focus groups, etc.)

Deciding the most likely source will help determine which database to use. Different databases are composed of information from different types of sources.  BEAM is a method for helping you decide how you might use a source.

Ask yourself if the database you select provides full-text, or only citations and /or abstracts:

  • If the database you need to use does not have full-text, use the or  buttons.
  • If you have a citation, use the Citation Search Tool to locate the full-text.

Understand the scope of the database you select. Ask yourself:

  • Does this database cover the subject area (discipline) I really need, or is there a better, more focused database?
  • Does this database provide indexing for the date range I need?
  • Will this database point me to or provide the full-text for articles written during the time period that is appropriate for my research need?

Although retrospective materials are sometimes added to databases, the actual article you need might not be available electronically, because it is too old or too new. 

Ask yourself if there are special advanced features that can improve your search results or make searching easier:

  • Does this database allow me to limit my search to a specific date range, or to a particular magazine or journal?
  • Does this database allow me to email, download, or export articles to my citation manager like Zotero or RefWorks?
  • Are there features that can help me to generate better search terms, like the Thesaurus feature or the "Browse Subject Headings" features in some databases?

Citation Tracking: Finding articles by citation

Once you have one (or more) useful article on a topic, use the references at the end of article to find more sources on your topic using our Citation Search tool.  This helps you see what was written previous to your current article, often called citing backward.


Use Google Scholar to see who has cited your article after it was published.  This helps you see what has been written after your article was published, citing forward.



 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Justina Elmore, University of Rochester

Finding Grey literature & Open Web Resources - Advanced Searching Tips

Hierarchy of grey literature denoting the varying degrees of information control and known expertise of the author.

The open web provides a plethora of resources for finding information about and from governmental and non-govermental organizations working to address issues surrounding your topic of research as well as grey literature.

What is grey literature?
Information published by entities (researchers or those working in the field) whose main purpose is NOT publishing (e.g. government and non-government organizations, think tanks, scholarly societies and associations, etc​. Grey literature might be technical documentation, white papers, working papers, symposia, bulletins, unpublished works, technical reports, fact sheets, standards, patents and the like. Watch this video for more info.)

Why is grey literature important?
A large amount of public policy information is published as grey literature.                             

Below are a few advanced Google searching tips for find grey literature:  

  1. Try using Google Advanced Search
  2. Google ignores the word AND as a search operator. But, typing OR in all caps will find similar or related terms [e.g. "racial segregation" OR "modern segregation" OR "concentrated poverty"].
  3. Include search terms like report OR analysis OR summary OR overview OR data
  4. Search for a particular document type [e.g. denver (hispanic OR latino) population filetype:xls].
  5. Search at particular site [e.g. OR OR OR].
  6. Search a particular domain [e.g. OR  OR  See a full list of country code domains].
  7. Exclude words by using the "-" sign in front of the word you wish to exclude [e.g. denver (hispanic OR latino) -migrants].
  8. Limit to a particular date range using before:YYYY-MM-DD or after:YYYY-MM-DD [e.g. metoo (Dobbs OR abortion) after:2022-06-24 before:2022-06-30]

 Image source: Kamei, F. et al., (2020) under a CC BY 4.0 license