English 110 – Meisel – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Click the image to visit Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral website.

About this Guide

This guide provides students with suggested sources for their research in English 110 with Professor Meisel.

Use the tabs above to navigate through the guide.

Your Assignment

An eight-page researched argument essay on a current issue related to food, using at least six reputable sources (including at least one peer-reviewed journal article).

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The words you use to describe a topic may be different from the words used by the library catalog and databases. Try some of the search words listed below, or ask a librarian for help choosing the best keywords to use in your search.

  • Crops genetic engineering
  • Famines
  • Farm life
  • Food biotechnology
  • Food consumption
  • Food industry and trade
  • Food relief
  • Food security
  • Food supply
  • Genetically modified foods
  • Hunger
  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition policy
  • Obesity
  • Slow food movement
  • Starvation
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Transgenic plants

Tutorial – Search Keywords

Watch the video below for a short tutorial on keywords.

Video courtesy of Ray Howard Library at Shoreline Community College (CC BY-NC 3.0 US)

Reference Sources

References sources are a good place to get background information on your topic.

Print Reference Sources

These resources are available in the Luria Library Reference section.

  • Encyclopedia of Food and Culture — R 394.12 K19e
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America — R 641.3 S642o

Online Reference Sources

This reference source is available online. If you are off campus, you will need to log in with your Pipeline account information:

  • Credo Reference: Contains the full text of nearly 800 encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books.


Search the library catalog (books+) for print and online books. Your search results will include articles as well. Limit to books by choosing the appropriate box from the menu to the left of the results.


Articles from periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and academic journals) often provide the most current information on a topic. Journal articles are more scholarly and tend to focus on narrow topics, while magazine articles tend to be shorter and more general. Newspaper articles are the most current of the three periodical sources and another good source of information.

To find articles on your topic, use one of the online databases listed below. To access databases from off campus you will need to log-in with your pipeline account number and password.

This general database is a good place to start:

  • Academic Search Premier: Provides articles from periodicals in all subject areas, including thousands of peer-reviewed journals.

These databases provide pro/con information on current and controversial topics:

  • CQ Researcher: Contains single-themed reports with unbiased coverage of controversial issues.
  • Opposing Viewpoints: Provides opinions and other information on hundreds of social issues.

These pages provide links to databases in specific subject areas:

  • Health Databases: Try one of these databases if your topic is related to health or nutrition.
  • Newspaper Databases: Use one of these databases to find full-text articles from regional, national, and international newspapers.
  • Science Databases: Try one of these databases if your topic is related to the science of food.

Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Much of the information available on the internet about topics such as nutrition and health is neither scientific nor reliable. For detailed information about avoiding fake news and pseudoscience, see the Real vs. Fake News research guide.

To get started, try visiting the recommended websites below, or use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources to determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: The reason the information exists. Is the purpose to sell, to entertain, to inform, to teach, or to persuade? Do the authors and publishers/sponsors make their purposes clear? Is this source designed for general readers or academic readers?
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. Does it relate to your topic? Does it meet the requirements of your assignment? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness of the information. Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong or emotional language, or leave out important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The truthfulness and accuracy of the information. Where does the information come from? Can you verify it in other sources? Are there citations or links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic?
  • Expertise: The source of the information. Who are the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the information? Are they experts, or has the information been reviewed by experts? Is it posted on a personal website or blog?
  • Newness: The timeliness of the information. When was the information published or posted? Is it up to date? Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as technology or current events), or will older sources work as well?

Fact Checking Groups

Recommended Websites

  • First Gov: The U.S. government’s official web portal.
  • USDA Food Access Research Atlas: An interactive map that “presents a spatial overview of food access indicators for low-income and other census tracts using different measures of supermarket accessibility.”

Advanced Search Tips for Google

Citation Guidelines

Below is a useful resource for creating citations for sources found on the internet and through library databases. More resources are available on the Citation Guides page.