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ENWR 1510: The Personal and the Political

Research guide for students in Anastatia Curley's Spring 2021 ENWR 1510 class.

This guide was created to help you prepare for your "Writing for the Ear" project for ENWR 1510 and as a general guide to resources related to higher education and student life during the pandemic. 

Library Research

In preparation for your research for this project, you've brainstormed possible topics as a class and hopefully settled on at least one area of interest to begin your research.

Once you have a topic in mind, you will also want to spend some time thinking about how you will conduct your research. 

  • Fine-tune your searches. Think broadly when brainstorming search terms.
    • What synonyms or related terms could stand in for your key search terms?
    • You can combine search terms using AND (tuition AND pandemic) and OR (college OR university OR "higher education")
    • In many databases, the asterisk (*) is a truncation or "wildcard" symbol  that will match all possible endings for a word stem.  For example, sex* will match sexism, sexual, sexuality, sexualize, etc. 
    • Most databases have filters or facets that allow you to narrow your results by subject, date range, etc. Limit your searches to help you find the sources you need. 
  • Think about where you might find the type of information you are seeking.
    Will you find the research you need in an e-book? A journal article? A magazine? A newspaper? An interview? 
    Cast a wide net when looking for the types of resources that could help answer your research question or support an argument you are making. 

  • Know the difference between academic and non-academic sources, and when it's appropriate to use them.
    Most databases allow you to limit results to academic/scholarly/peer-reviewed sources. For your podcast assignment, you need three outside sources, but they do not need to be peer reviewed. Need a refresher on what types of sources are peer-reviewed? Watch the short video Peer Review in 3 Minutes.

  • When you find a good source, use it to find other good sources. 
    Use the subject terms and keywords associated with an article or essay to find other articles and essays on similar topics. Books and articles will have often have works cited, bibliographies, or footnotes you can mine for additional resources. 

Need help? Ask a librarian.  

Recommended Online Sites for Articles

These sites provide news and analysis on the state of higher education in the United States today: 

Inside Higher Ed - Search for news about all areas of higher education since the pandemic began (and before). The Student Voice tab will provide you with students' perspectives, but all articles focus on topics relevant to those working in (or attending) higher educational institutions. A few examples of possible pieces of interest:

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Subscription site of higher education journalism, so use the link to the left or the Reload @ UVA button (see tab on left for more information) to access content on the site as a UVA student. Search for stories related to the pandemic and your topic of interest or browse through news published in the print (and/or online) Chronicle from the past year+.  Example pieces of interest:

The Hechinger Report - Higher Education - In-depth journalism on innovation in inequality in education. Example articles of interest:

Research studies on social effects of the pandemic

Pew Research Center - This "fact tank" looks at issues and trends affecting the U.S. public. Not higher education-specific, but good for research on general attitudes and trends related to the pandemic. Example reports of interest: 

Brookings Institute - Brown Center Chalkboard - The Brookings Institute is a public policy organization that conducts research for solving societal problems. The Brown Center Chalkboard is a blog on the site that focuses on American education. Example posts of interest:

Library databases for finding news and journal articles

When searching these databases, consider using an Advanced Boolean/Phrase search (Boolean searching is when you use AND or OR with your search terms) where you break your search down into several facets. Here's an example of what a search for information on internet access among college students during the pandemic might look like in Academic Search Complete: 

Academic Search Complete Samples Search

Multidisciplinary (good for searching a wide range of topics) 

  • Academic Search Complete is a large general database of articles from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers on many topics. Updated daily, it can be the best source for resources about very current topics. 
  • Access World News is a comprehensive news collection that is ideal for exploring issues and events at the local, regional, national and international level. Its diverse source types include print and online-only newspapers, blogs, newswires, journals, broadcast transcripts and videos. They have a special section for coronavirus articles (look for a banner at the top of the database). **Access World News now has a collection shortcut for College/University Newspaper which allows you to search through 500+ college newspapers from across the U.S.**


  • ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) provides access to more than 1.4 million bibliographic records of journal articles, most of which are peer-reviewed, and other education-related materials, with hundreds of new records added multiple times per week.


  • APA PsycINFO - Beginning in the 1800s, covers journal articles in more than 30 languages and books in English about psychology and related disciplines including medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, education.


  • SPORT Discus with Full Text - International database covering sports medicine, exercise physiology, biomechanics, coaching, recreation, and more.  

See an A-Z list of all databases

Finding books & articles using Virgo

Virgo, the UVA Library’s primary search tool, contains catalog records for books, print journals, DVDs, maps, and digitized materials, as well as links to online articles from our rich array of subscription journals. You can search catalog materials and articles together by choosing Everything, or view results separately, using the facets provided to limit your results by author, format, publication period, and more.  To find online content, use the Filter Results option and choose EBook or Online.

Example subject terms of possible interest: 

Example Print and Online Books & Reports of Interest

Although not many books have been published (yet) on the effects of the pandemic, we do have some reports in print and online that could be relevant, which I'll highlight below. You might also use a book chapter or essay to provide context on an issue that faces college students or a general facet of college life before the pandemic, and then discuss effects during/after pandemic.

Cover of Chronicle Report The Post-Pandemic College The Post- Pandemic College - A report from The Chronicle of Higher Education. 
 Available in print: Clemons Library  LB2324.P66 2020 (Use Request Item button in Virgo to place a hold request)

"In this Chronicle report, leading experts examine how the pandemic will shape higher education in the years to come and what  the college of the future may look like. The most responsive colleges — those best prepared to adapt to the teaching approaches of the future — will invest heavily in supporting inclusive and equitable online-learning experiences. To flourish post-Covid-19, colleges must develop a more externally-focused business model, direct resources to expand professional development in online teaching, and continue to expand mental-health services."

Cover of report College in the Time of CoronavirusCollege in the Time of Coronavirus: Challenges Facing American Education 

Available online - use link in Virgo to read through HeinOnline, or find online at  

A report from the American Enterprise Institute after spring 2020 discussing obstacles and forecasting changes to higher education as a result of the pandemic.