Welcome!

Resources in this guide are organized to coincide with the rhetorically-driven approach to research recommended in this article:

Bizup, Joseph (2008). BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing. Rhetoric Review, 27(1), 72-86.

Education and Sociology Resources

Gutman Library Research Librarians

Marcella, Carla, Ning, Kathleen & Deborah

We're available to answer your questions Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Email: Use our Ask Us form
Call: 617.495.3421
Text: 617.858.6079
Drop in: Main Desk, Gutman Library, 2nd Floor

Research Librarian for Sociology

Kathleen Sheehan

I'm available to answer your questions Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Email: ksheehan@fas.harvard.edu, or Ask a Librarian

Examples of this kind of source: dictionaries, encyclopedias, companions, statistical compendiums

Why this kind of source is helpful: You may use background sources to establish basic facts and as evidence to support your own assertions. Because information gleaned from them is sometimes “common knowledge,” it’s not always necessary to cite them. They can also help you save time and situate your project within a relevant context. Use them to plan where you’d like to go and avoid getting lost in the weeds.

Tip: In some sense, book reviews, book introductions, and review articles can also function as “background” sources of a kind; for they provide a summary, or map of a larger terrain.

Specific Resources:

  1. To find background sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

almanacs
atlases
bibliography OR indexes OR periodicals
biobibliography OR bio-bibliography
biography OR biographies
catalogs
chronology
Companion OR introduction OR guide
databases OR periodicals OR indexes
dictionaries
directories
encyclopedias
gazetteers
guidebooks
quotations
yearbooks OR calendars

Examples of this kind of source: Manuscripts, letters, testimony, raw data, images, objects

Why this kind of source is helpful: Exhibit sources can spark research questions rooted in the information and ideas they themselves present. They lend themselves to explication, analysis, or interpretation and may sometimes inspire conflicting readings or claims. They may form the substance of your evidence or serve as helpful illustrations of a phenomenon, and in order to use them well, it’s imperative to do your homework to surface relevant and converging facts that can inform your interpretation.

Tip 1: A particular challenge when seeking Exhibit sources on a predetermined topic is going in with a focus that is too narrow, such that no primary sources one examines meet the criteria one has in mind. When this happens, it’s best to broaden your criteria, cast a wider net and piece together diverse fragments.

Tip 2: Background sources, like bibliographies and companions, can be useful for identifying exhibit sources.

Specific Resources:

  1. To find exhibit sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

archival resources OR archives
biography OR biographies
correspondence
description and travel OR social life and customs OR economic conditions
diaries OR notebooks OR sketchbooks
manuscripts
maps
oral history OR personal narratives OR interviews OR ethnology
pamphlets
pictorial works OR portraits OR posters
sources
speeches
statistics

Examples of this kind of source: Essays, research articles, books, scholarly blogs, highbrow magazine articles

Why this kind of source is helpful: Argument sources are those with which scholars enter into “conversation.” If you read enough of them, patterns will emerge, revealing whose voices are cited most frequently and what is contentious in your field. This information will allow you to situate your own, ultimately very particular argument.

Tip 1: Be particularly judicious when selecting these, so as to ensure you’re listening to the most influential scholars and being exposed to the most important debates.

Tip 2: Be mindful of whose voices may have been marginalized and seek these out in order to gather counter-arguments and reveal fresh insights.

Tip 3: Book reviews, book introductions, and review articles can be useful for quickly understanding how a given idea is situated in a disciplinary debate. Likewise, background sources (see above) can help you spot these debates (and in some cases, you may find a reference series devoted to tracking them, such as the Contemporary Debates in Philosophy series).

Specific Resources:

  1. To find argument sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

NOTE: You may also benefit from selecting the "Everything" radio button, which expands your search beyond what has been cataloged at Harvard (doing so will retrieve many articles published in periodicals).

Suggested Subject Headings:

Criticism
History
Political
Psychological
Social
etc.

Examples of this kind of source: Handbooks, volumes of curated book and journal content that collate the very best thinking in a particular research field (major works), specialized textbooks and manuals.

Why this kind of source is helpful: Method sources may offer a set of key terms, lay out particular procedures, or furnish general models or perspectives. Like background sources, they can sometimes go uncited. Method sources give you a sense of what is possible, and if used wisely, can help you reign in an overly ambitious inquiry to arrive at more achievable goals.

Caveat: Research questions should ultimately emerge from what interests you, and the methods you choose to employ should allow you to discover whatever it is you’re hoping to learn. Don’t put this “cart” ahead of your “horse” in your research journey.

Tip: There are some databases dedicated to this kind of resource, such as Sage Research Methods online.

  1. To find method sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

handbooks OR manuals

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History Resources

Research Librarians for History

Fred Burchsted and Anna Esty

Fred Burchsted & Anna Assogba

We're available to answer your questions Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Email: burchst@fas.harvard.edu, assogba@fas.harvard.edu, or Ask a Librarian

Examples of this kind of source: dictionaries, encyclopedias, companions, statistical compendiums

Why this kind of source is helpful: You may use background sources to establish basic facts and as evidence to support your own assertions. Because information gleaned from them is sometimes “common knowledge,” it’s not always necessary to cite them. They can also help you save time and situate your project within a relevant context. Use them to plan where you’d like to go and avoid getting lost in the weeds.

Tip: In some sense, book reviews, book introductions, and review articles can also function as “background” sources of a kind; for they provide a summary, or map of a larger terrain.

Specific Resources:

  1. To find background sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

almanacs
atlases
bibliography OR indexes OR periodicals
biobibliography OR bio-bibliography
biography OR biographies
catalogs
chronology
Companion OR introduction OR guide
databases OR periodicals OR indexes
dictionaries
directories
encyclopedias
gazetteers
guidebooks
quotations
yearbooks OR calendars

Examples of this kind of source: Manuscripts, letters, testimony, raw data, images, objects

Why this kind of source is helpful: Exhibit sources can spark research questions rooted in the information and ideas they themselves present. They lend themselves to explication, analysis, or interpretation and may sometimes inspire conflicting readings or claims. They may form the substance of your evidence or serve as helpful illustrations of a phenomenon, and in order to use them well, it’s imperative to do your homework to surface relevant and converging facts that can inform your interpretation.

Tip 1: A particular challenge when seeking Exhibit sources on a predetermined topic is going in with a focus that is too narrow, such that no primary sources one examines meet the criteria one has in mind. When this happens, it’s best to broaden your criteria, cast a wider net and piece together diverse fragments.

Tip 2: Background sources, like bibliographies and companions, can be useful for identifying exhibit sources.

Specific Resources:

  1. To find exhibit sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

archival resources OR archives
biography OR biographies
correspondence
description and travel OR social life and customs OR economic conditions
diaries OR notebooks OR sketchbooks
manuscripts
maps
oral history OR personal narratives OR interviews OR ethnology
pamphlets
pictorial works OR portraits OR posters
sources
speeches
statistics

Examples of this kind of source: Essays, research articles, books, scholarly blogs, highbrow magazine articles

Why this kind of source is helpful: Argument sources are those with which scholars enter into “conversation.” If you read enough of them, patterns will emerge, revealing whose voices are cited most frequently and what is contentious in your field. This information will allow you to situate your own, ultimately very particular argument.

Tip 1: Be particularly judicious when selecting these, so as to ensure you’re listening to the most influential scholars and being exposed to the most important debates.

Tip 2: Be mindful of whose voices may have been marginalized and seek these out in order to gather counter-arguments and reveal fresh insights.

Tip 3: Book reviews, book introductions, and review articles can be useful for quickly understanding how a given idea is situated in a disciplinary debate. Likewise, background sources (see above) can help you spot these debates (and in some cases, you may find a reference series devoted to tracking them, such as the Contemporary Debates in Philosophy series).

Specific Resources:

  1. To find argument sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

NOTE: You may also benefit from selecting the "Everything" radio button, which expands your search beyond what has been cataloged at Harvard (doing so will retrieve many articles published in periodicals).

Suggested Subject Headings:

Criticism
History
Political
Psychological
Social
etc.

Examples of this kind of source: Method sources may offer a set of key terms, lay out particular procedures, or furnish general models or perspectives. Like background sources, they can sometimes go uncited. Method sources give you a sense of what is possible, and if used wisely, can help you reign in an overly ambitious inquiry to arrive at more achievable goals.

Why this kind of source is helpful: They give you a sense of what is possible, and if used wisely, can help you reign in an overly ambitious inquiry to arrive at more achievable goals.

Caveat: Research questions should ultimately emerge from what interests you, and the methods you choose to employ should allow you to discover whatever it is you’re hoping to learn. Don’t put this “cart” ahead of your “horse” in your research journey.

Tip: There are some databases dedicated to this kind of resource, such as Sage Research Methods online.

  1. To find method sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

handbooks OR manuals

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Political Economy Resources

Research Librarian for Political Economy and Government

Kathleen Sheehan

I'm available to answer your questions Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Email: ksheehan@fas.harvard.edu, or Ask a Librarian

 

Research Librarian for Economics

Diane Sredl

I'm available to answer your questions Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Email: sredl@fas.harvard.edu, or Ask a Librarian

 

Examples of this kind of source: dictionaries, encyclopedias, companions, statistical compendiums

Why this kind of source is helpful: You may use background sources to establish basic facts and as evidence to support your own assertions. Because information gleaned from them is sometimes “common knowledge,” it’s not always necessary to cite them. They can also help you save time and situate your project within a relevant context. Use them to plan where you’d like to go and avoid getting lost in the weeds.

Tip: In some sense, book reviews, book introductions, and review articles can also function as “background” sources of a kind; for they provide a summary, or map of a larger terrain.

Specific Resources:

  1. To find background sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

almanacs
atlases
bibliography OR indexes OR periodicals
biobibliography OR bio-bibliography
biography OR biographies
catalogs
chronology
Companion OR introduction OR guide
databases OR periodicals OR indexes
dictionaries
directories
encyclopedias
gazetteers
guidebooks
quotations
yearbooks OR calendars

Examples of this kind of source: Manuscripts, letters, testimony, raw data, images, objects

Why this kind of source is helpful: Exhibit sources can spark research questions rooted in the information and ideas they themselves present. They lend themselves to explication, analysis, or interpretation and may sometimes inspire conflicting readings or claims. They may form the substance of your evidence or serve as helpful illustrations of a phenomenon, and in order to use them well, it’s imperative to do your homework to surface relevant and converging facts that can inform your interpretation.

Tip 1: A particular challenge when seeking Exhibit sources on a predetermined topic is going in with a focus that is too narrow, such that no primary sources one examines meet the criteria one has in mind. When this happens, it’s best to broaden your criteria, cast a wider net and piece together diverse fragments.

Tip 2: Background sources, like bibliographies and companions, can be useful for identifying exhibit sources.

Specific Resources:

  1. To find exhibit sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

archival resources OR archives
biography OR biographies
correspondence
description and travel OR social life and customs OR economic conditions
diaries OR notebooks OR sketchbooks
manuscripts
maps
oral history OR personal narratives OR interviews OR ethnology
pamphlets
pictorial works OR portraits OR posters
sources
speeches
statistics

Examples of this kind of source: Essays, research articles, books, scholarly blogs, highbrow magazine articles

Why this kind of source is helpful: Argument sources are those with which scholars enter into “conversation.” If you read enough of them, patterns will emerge, revealing whose voices are cited most frequently and what is contentious in your field. This information will allow you to situate your own, ultimately very particular argument.

Tip 1: Be particularly judicious when selecting these, so as to ensure you’re listening to the most influential scholars and being exposed to the most important debates.

Tip 2: Be mindful of whose voices may have been marginalized and seek these out in order to gather counter-arguments and reveal fresh insights.

Tip 3: Book reviews, book introductions, and review articles can be useful for quickly understanding how a given idea is situated in a disciplinary debate. Likewise, background sources (see above) can help you spot these debates (and in some cases, you may find a reference series devoted to tracking them, such as the Contemporary Debates in Philosophy series).

Specific Resources:

  1. To find argument sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

NOTE: You may also benefit from selecting the "Everything" radio button, which expands your search beyond what has been cataloged at Harvard (doing so will retrieve many articles published in periodicals).

Suggested Subject Headings:

Criticism
History
Political
Psychological
Social
etc.

Examples of this kind of source: Handbooks, volumes of curated book and journal content that collate the very best thinking in a particular research field (major works), specialized textbooks and manuals.

Why this kind of source is helpful: Method sources may offer a set of key terms, lay out particular procedures, or furnish general models or perspectives. Like background sources, they can sometimes go uncited. Method sources give you a sense of what is possible, and if used wisely, can help you reign in an overly ambitious inquiry to arrive at more achievable goals.

Caveat: Research questions should ultimately emerge from what interests you, and the methods you choose to employ should allow you to discover whatever it is you’re hoping to learn. Don’t put this “cart” ahead of your “horse” in your research journey.

Tip: There are some databases dedicated to this kind of resource, such as Sage Research Methods online.

  1. To find method sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

handbooks OR manuals

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Psychology Resources

Research Librarian for Psychology

Kathleen Sheehan

I'm available to answer your questions Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Email: ksheehan@fas.harvard.edu, or Ask a Librarian

Examples of this kind of source: dictionaries, encyclopedias, companions, statistical compendiums

Why this kind of source is helpful: You may use background sources to establish basic facts and as evidence to support your own assertions. Because information gleaned from them is sometimes “common knowledge,” it’s not always necessary to cite them. They can also help you save time and situate your project within a relevant context. Use them to plan where you’d like to go and avoid getting lost in the weeds.

Tip: In some sense, book reviews, book introductions, and review articles can also function as “background” sources of a kind; for they provide a summary, or map of a larger terrain.

Specific Resources:

  1. To find background sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

almanacs
atlases
bibliography OR indexes OR periodicals
biobibliography OR bio-bibliography
biography OR biographies
catalogs
chronology
Companion OR introduction OR guide
databases OR periodicals OR indexes
dictionaries
directories
encyclopedias
gazetteers
guidebooks
quotations
yearbooks OR calendars

Examples of this kind of source: Manuscripts, letters, testimony, raw data, images, objects

Why this kind of source is helpful: Exhibit sources can spark research questions rooted in the information and ideas they themselves present. They lend themselves to explication, analysis, or interpretation and may sometimes inspire conflicting readings or claims. They may form the substance of your evidence or serve as helpful illustrations of a phenomenon, and in order to use them well, it’s imperative to do your homework to surface relevant and converging facts that can inform your interpretation.

Tip 1: A particular challenge when seeking Exhibit sources on a predetermined topic is going in with a focus that is too narrow, such that no primary sources one examines meet the criteria one has in mind. When this happens, it’s best to broaden your criteria, cast a wider net and piece together diverse fragments.

Tip 2: Background sources, like bibliographies and companions, can be useful for identifying exhibit sources.

Specific Resources:

Examples of this kind of source: Essays, research articles, books, scholarly blogs, highbrow magazine articles

Why this kind of source is helpful: Argument sources are those with which scholars enter into “conversation.” If you read enough of them, patterns will emerge, revealing whose voices are cited most frequently and what is contentious in your field. This information will allow you to situate your own, ultimately very particular argument.

Tip 1: Be particularly judicious when selecting these, so as to ensure you’re listening to the most influential scholars and being exposed to the most important debates.

Tip 2: Be mindful of whose voices may have been marginalized and seek these out in order to gather counter-arguments and reveal fresh insights.

Tip 3: Book reviews, book introductions, and review articles can be useful for quickly understanding how a given idea is situated in a disciplinary debate. Likewise, background sources (see above) can help you spot these debates (and in some cases, you may find a reference series devoted to tracking them, such as the Contemporary Debates in Philosophy series).

Specific Resources:

  1. To find argument sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

NOTE: You may also benefit from selecting the "Everything" radio button, which expands your search beyond what has been cataloged at Harvard (doing so will retrieve many articles published in periodicals).

Suggested Subject Headings:

Criticism
History
Political
Psychological
Social
etc.

Examples of this kind of source: Handbooks, volumes of curated book and journal content that collate the very best thinking in a particular research field (major works), specialized textbooks and manuals. Primary research articles (see the "Argument" tab above) usually include a section on materials and methods. It’s all about reproducibility of results. Articles have been taken down because other researchers have been unable to reproduce the results, and there have been cases where the original researcher was disgraced because they produced fraudulent results (e.g., Marc Hauser here at Harvard, ~2011).

Why this kind of source is helpful: Method sources may offer a set of key terms, lay out particular procedures, or furnish general models or perspectives. Like background sources, they can sometimes go uncited. Method sources give you a sense of what is possible, and if used wisely, can help you reign in an overly ambitious inquiry to arrive at more achievable goals.

Caveat: Research questions should ultimately emerge from what interests you, and the methods you choose to employ should allow you to discover whatever it is you’re hoping to learn. Don’t put this “cart” ahead of your “horse” in your research journey.

Tip: There are some databases dedicated to this kind of resource, such as Sage Research Methods online.

  1. To find method sources in HOLLIS, click on “ADVANCED SEARCH” to the right of the “BASIC SEARCH” screen.

  2. Next, select the “Library Catalog” radio button.

  3. Select “Subject” in the “Any field” drop-down box, and then enter all or part of your chosen subject heading (see suggestions below) on the line to the right of “contains.”

  4. You may include alternate subject headings by inserting OR between each heading.

  5. Be sure to enter your topic on another line!

  6. Finally, add in any other terms or parameters you may desire, and click “SEARCH.”

Suggested Subject Headings:

handbooks OR manuals

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