Library Research

Four Steps to Success

There are many ways students complete research in the library, but perhaps the most important one is research that is used to write an argumentative essay. It is important because the argumentative essay is the most common form of essay written by college and university students.There are essentially two types of argumentative essays. The first is based on a primary source, either fiction or non-fiction, which means that all the evidence comes only from that text(s). The other is based on secondary sources, which means that all the evidence comes from several sources that are indirectly related to the thesis. For this Smore, let us assume that the thesis is given, and let us also assume that the student knows how to construct an argumentative essay. Therefore, what is offered are some guidelines on how to use different types of resources in order to find evidence to support the claims in the argumentative essay. We will also offer the following guiding thesis and claims, which will help in the discussion on how to conduct research in the library for an argumentative essay. Thesis: Food will be scarce in the year 2050.Claim 1: Food cannot be transported long distances due to a lack of fossil fuels.Claim 2: Rising climate temperatures will create more arid land.Claim 3: A lack of fresh water will make irrigation less possible.When conducting research for an argumentative essay, one is looking for evidence that can be used to support each of the above claims. Because there are different types of sources, we will suggest a different type of source for each claim.For Claim 1, one can use the following evidence, which is a quote from a book: "The twin signatures of this era have been the mass export of products across vast distances (relentlessly burning carbon all the way), and the import of a uniquely wasteful model of production, consumption, ...  Put differently, the liberation of unprecedented amounts of fossil fuels from the earth has dramatically sped up the same process that is liberating Arctic ice from existence." (20 -21) Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything, Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.  In order to find this evidence, it is necessary to check first the index at the back of the book for key terms that relate to the prominent concepts in the claim. In this case, the key terms oil and oil consumption were consulted in order to find the pages with this relevant passage.For Claim 2, one can use the following evidence, which is from a periodical. "The process of dessertification is happening already because of rising global temperatures, which are currently +1.5 C higher than normal. At this increase, scientists estimate that roughly 40 thousand tons of rice are lost every year and roughly 50 thousand tons of wheat. At current projections, the global temperatures should rise to +3 C by the year 2050. Such an increase will surely cause food shortages." (Thorsten Maurtisen, Climate Feedback Efficiency and Synergy in Climate Dynamics, May 2013).  This article was retrieved from an online data base at One reaches it by logging on to the website Once in this site, select the eResources option on the lower left. Then select the EBSCO icon. In order to find this article, we typed in 'rising climate temperatures' as an inquiry prompt.For Claim 3, one can use following evidence, which is from a video. "Freshwater shortages are threatening many of these areas as larger numbers of people are overwhelming supplies of drinking water and the infrastructure for delivering potable water to urban residents in rapidly growing cities. As well, resevoirs and aquifers, which is a source of irrigation, are rapidly depleting."(Al Gore, The Inconvenient Truth, 2006). A copy of the video is on youtube at