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Honors Thesis resources for CLA students: Advanced Research Skills

A curated collection of helpful resources for students writing honors theses.

Getting serious about your research

Your Honors Thesis will require sustained searching, reviewing and saving resources for your project.. The links below provide tools and resources that are useful for a longer-term research project.

Organizing Your Research

The quantity of information you will deal with during your honors thesis can be intimidating. That's why it's important to get organized! The resources below will help you develop a research organization strategy that works for you.

Organize Your Sources with a Citation Manager

A citation manager helps you keep track of your sources while searching, and cites them when writing. Review the linked LibGuide and contact the Library at email: to learn more about them.

Get Started with Your Literature Review

Your Honors Thesis will likely require a literature review; the article linked below is a good starting place for understanding the importance and process of doing one.  

Literature review tracker

This Google spreadsheet is a good example of how students might  track sources for a literature review. Make a copy to your Google drive  and then use it for your research (source: Claremont College Library).


Copyright and Fair Use

It's important to understand the basics of copyright and fair use, so that you can use copyrighted works correctly in your thesis and understand your rights as an author.

Advanced search strategies

We often think of keyword searching when it comes to database research, but there are lots of other search methods that your research will benefit from. Look for the "HELP" button in your preferred database to learn about more advanced search techniques for that database or reach out to the library at to learn more about search methods specific to your field and databases. 

Field Searching

  • Field searching allows you to choose exactly where you want your keywords to be found and makes your search more precise. For example, in an author search (above), you search in the Author field. You can also limit your search to titles, abstracts, and more.
  • Search for authors using the last name, first name format and the Author field in a database. This is a useful strategy when you want to find all of the publications by a specific scholar.
  • Search for the title of an article or book by locking it in "quotes"

Chemical Structure Searching

  • Use chemical structure searching in chemistry and biology to find all of the publications that refer to a specific chemical structure. This search strategy is available in a limited number of databases, like SciFinder.

Citation Chaining

  • Citation chaining uses a specific source as a starting point to find other sources in conversation, and consists of forwards and backwards searching. View the short video (1:00) below to learn more about this effective process. Video source: The University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Questions? Need Help? Email

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