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Archer Library Orientation: Database Orientation • 2

This guide provides an introduction to Archer Library Resources & Information
Database orientation banner Gale in Context

Session Resources • 1, 2, 3


Ashland University  > Archer Library Website

Getting started with Archer Library Resources.


Archer Library's website is two steps from Ashland University's home page.  Navigate to the main menu and (1) select the arrow next to Academics, then (2) click on Library.

Today's session will focus on two library resources useful for beginning research:

1. Archer Library • OneSearch & Library Resources
2. Gale In Context • Opposing Viewpoints Database


Featured Resource • A-Z Databases


The A-Z Database page provides a complete alphabetical listing of databases available. Options to manage the page include sorting by Subject, Database Type, Vendor, and Searching by database name or keyword. Popular and New/Trial Databases are featured in the right column. Databases are available to users on and off campus; login, AU ID and password, is required for off campus use

Gale In Context

Working with Gale's Opposing Viewpoints databases.

Database Overview

Opposing Viewpoints is a cross-curricular database covering social issues and current events. It balanced views, information, and resources for users to "explore all sides of an issue" (Gale, 2022), allowing  and draw their own conclusions. Information and resource formats include research articles, periodicals, newspapers, commentary, videos, and audio.

  • Opposing Viewpoints is a great starting point for research, providing users to start building an argument and subsequently move forward with research in other databases.
  • Viewpoint essays are from authoritative sources; all resources are vetted and go beyond basics of pros and cons.

Main Page • Basic Search

There are three 3 key areas on the Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints home page:  (1) Basic and advanced search, (2) Issues of Interest, and (3) browsing available issues.

Opposing viewpoints home page screen grab

Image: Screen grab of Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints Databases


Conducting & Managing a Search

We will use Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints to locate information about our topic. Search process and strategies will include: 

  • Conduct a basic search and examine content types.
  • Apply database filters to refine search results.
  • Explore topic finder; identity keywords and narrow search results.
  • Review available database tools for citations, printing, and saving articles.
  • Use the explore option to locate related subjects, topics, and documents.
  • Select article, newspaper, and audio content types to view and evaluate.

What is a Concept Map?

A concept map is a visual representation of information. It is a diagram that suggests connections between topics and subtopics or concepts and ideas. Developing and using a concept map during research will help to identify potential keywords and search topics.

There are different types of concept maps such as flow-charts, Venn diagrams, and hierarchy maps. The topic finder in Opposing Viewpoints provided visualization of words and subjects found in search results, presenting them in a tile and wheel format. We will be using a spider, or semantic, concept map branch out from a main idea.

Opposing Viewpoints • Topic Search Activity

Work in pairs exploring and mapping a research topic.

Blank concept map for activity

Image: Blank concept map for research activity


Opposing Viewpoint • Issue

Developing a basic spider concept map for research.

Navigate to the A -Z Database List, or use the database tab on this guide, and select the Gale in Context Opposing Viewpoints. With a partner, browse both the featured issues and full issues list and select a category to find information about a topic of interest.

Answer the following questions about your topic.

1. Select a Topic
2. Identify Overview Key Points
3. Review the Critical Thinking Questions

Determine a viewpoint (argument) to research on your selected issue. Consider the following questions while gathering resources and information:

  • Are there featured viewpoints available? How do they support your topic?
  • What content is appropriate for your topic/subject argument?
  • Explore related topics presented. Do any support your concept or argument?


Create a Concept Map

Topic Finder & research connections.

Getting Started: Use the blank concept map to plot your research plan.

  • Identify your topic (main idea) and conduct a basic search in Opposing Viewpoints.
  • Review the results. Explore the topic finder to make connections with your search.
  • Enter supporting or related topics to your main idea into the dark gray circle.
  • Conduct a second search using a supporting concept or term.
  • Enter corresponding concepts to the light gray circle.
  • Spin your spider web; insert additional connections to the concept map as needed.

Today's Session

Archer Library

Welcome to the Bernice Faber Baker Active Learning Lab, Archer Library's instruction classroom, located on the library main floor.

Students are encouraged to use their own laptops or mobile devices for designated activities. Library iPads are available as needed.

Session Overview

Today's session will focus on: (1) Archer Library's website and A - Z Database list, (2) conducting and managing a topic search in Gale in Context, and (3) developing a concept map to organize search results.

This session will include think/pair/share group work, experiential learning, and direct instruction.

Instructions • Getting Started

Introduction & Resource Review:  10 Minutes

Opposing Viewpoints Intro:  15 minutes

Topic Concept Mapping: 15 minutes

Conclusion & Discussion: 7 - 10 minutes

Students will be asked to complete an exit ticket at the conclusion of the session.

Information Literacy

This session supports ACRL Framework for Information Literacy frames: Searching as Strategic Exploration, Research as Inquiry, and Information has value.

Knowledge and disposition statements are identified in the Standards & References tab of this library guide.



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