Research & Finding Tools

Writing a research paper can be challenging. With the right tools and resources, the process can be less complicated. The resources below have been developed to help improve the process.
Contact the
Reference Librarians for further assistance or help.


Finding Material | Evaluation/ Preparation | Tools | Help

Getting Started

Remember the first rule of using a library: Help is Always Available!
Ask at the Reference Desk for assistance or
for an appointment with a subject specialist.

Writing the paper

  • Understanding the Assignment - The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment.
  • Brainstorming – Techniques that will help you start writing a paper and continue writing through the challenges of the revising process.
  • Argument – Define what an argument is and explain why you need one in most of your academic essays.
  • Evidence – help you decide what counts as evidence, put evidence to work in your writing
  • College Writing – Help you figure out what your college instructors expect when they give you a writing assignment

Writing Assistance from the PVAMU Writing Center
Writing Techniques – Documentation Styles – Research, Quoting, Citing Paraphrasing
Literary Analysis Essay – Grammar Mechanics and more !

Finding Material

  • Find Books – The John B. Coleman Library Online Catalog – Books and other materials you may check out.
  • Find Journal Articles – Search the Library’s various databases for abstracts and full text
  • Find Articles when you have the Journal Title – E-Journal Portal
  • Find Articles when you have the Citation – SFX Citation Finder
  • Find Resources by Subject
  • Finding Government Documents – John B. Coleman Library is a U.S. Depository – Check in with the Documents Librarian – Located at the Periodicals Area.
  • Finding material on Reserve – Your instructor may have placed items on Reserve. Electronic Reserves and ERes is the same as Reserves.
  • Useful Websites
  • Finding materials on the history of Prairie View – Special Collections/Archives is located on the fifth floor of the Library. Call or email on availability of material on your topic.
  • You are able to check-out items from many other area Texas Libraries. You must first get a TexShare card first.
  • Interlibrary Loan allows you to order books and articles we do not own. Look for the link Request from ILL when searching for articles and books. World Cat is a great place to search for Books and other formats!

Evaluation & Preparation

Copyright – John B. Coleman Library observes the United States copyright legislation (title 17, U.S. Code). If you need help in interpreting copyright please see the Copyright Office Website for assistance.Evaluating Print Sources – Strategies to evaluate secondary printed sources—books, journal articles, magazines, etc.  How do you determine if a book is “scholarly?”Is Your Journal Scholarly? Finding Peer Reviewed Material – Look ALSO for the Peer Review icon Selected Peer Reviewed articles when selecting a resource Plagiarism – What plagiarism is and steps to avoid plagiarizing.Editing and Proofreading – It’s hard to edit or proofread a paper that you’ve just finished writing Is Your Web Site Credible? – Finding information on the World Wide Web is one thing, trusting it is another. You must be a critical consumer of materials you find on the Web. Quality and validity are not guaranteed when anyone can publish anything, anytime, without the benefit of scholarly peer review. Use this guide to analyze the web sites you find.Handbooks


Citation Tools

These resources will attempt to format your citation for you. They will get you probably 80% of the way there,
but mistakes happen! Double check the citation with a

End Note - (Available as part of Web of Science database) Sign In | Register for Free – With End Note the online bibliographic databases, you can organize your references, images and PDFs in any language, and create bibliographies and figure lists instantly.

RefWorks – Web-based bibliography and database manager that allows you to create your own personal database by importing references from text files or online databases and other various sources. You can use these references in writing papers and automatically format the paper and the bibliography in seconds

Write-N-Cite – Is a utility that allows users to run an abbreviated version of RefWorks in their word processor. It works with your word-processor to create citations while you are writing your paper. With Write-N-Cite, you can cite references in a manuscript instantly. There are multiple versions of Write-N-Cite available—depending on your preferred operating system.

Installing Write-N-Cite - Logon on to your RefWorks account, select Tools pull down menu and select Write-N-Write. Follow the instructions. You must have administrators rights to Install Write-N-Cite feature on your computer.

Cite While You Write (also known as CWYW) is a key feature of End Note. It allows you to access End Note from within Microsoft Word to insert citations into your Word documents. You can insert citations anytime during your writing process.

You can also use Cite While You Write to insert images (figures) from an End Note library into your Word documents. CWYW automatically builds a bibliography from the citations you insert. You can also create a list of figures.

Installing Cite While You Write Log on to your End Note Account ( and select Options. Select Download Installers from the Options menu and follow the instructions. You must have administrators’ rights to install the Cite While You Write feature on your computer.



Citation Style Guides

Other Resources


Free Image Resources


Many ways of getting different types of help

Writing CenterThe Prairie View Writing Center is here to assist you!

Getting Feedback – Feedback from someone else about your writing.

PV Writing Center Workshops | Library Workshops

PV Writing Consultants


Ask a Librarian – By phone – (936) 261-1504 or by email

Assistance from the Northwest Houston Center(713) 790-7282 by email at

Access from home and off Campus - If you can log onto an University computer, you can access from home!


Content by Kimberly Gay, Head of Reference
Maintained by Karl Henson, Library Webmaster
Updated 9/1/2015




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