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ENGL 151R: Report Writing (+ Business Plans): ENGL 151R Report Writing - Supinski

Students in Professor Ashley Supinski's ENGL 151R class can use this page for help finding sources for your Career Path Recommendation Report. Learn about library and internet resources available to help you with this project as well as general search strategies to help you search these resources. You may need to use a few different sources to get information about the job responsibilities, personality traits, experience, skills, and local employment opportunities for each of the careers you are reporting on. 

Starting your research

Choosing Search Keywords

After you've chosen the careers you want to research, you should take some time to think about what search words will get you to information about those careers.

Most search tools default to a keyword search (even Google!). This type of search looks for your search words exactly as you typed them. If your word appears anywhere in an item or website's title, summary, publication information, and sometimes even the text, that item or website will show in your results. 

Because of this, you'll want to be direct, precise, and specific with your search keywords. Sources may use different language to discuss the information you are trying to find. Brainstorm a list of possibilities. Include synonyms and related terms. 

For example, if you are looking for the job responsibilities of a food taster, a list of starting keywords might look like this:

responsibilities daily food taster
tasks regular food science technician
operations primary flavor technologist
functions job quality assurance manager







Learn from the information you are finding, pick up new or different search keywords, and make adjustments in your next search. 


Combining Search Keywords

You can combine search keywords in a few ways to help make your search more precise.

Connecting search keywords using AND, OR, and NOT (known as Boolean operators) allows you to work with multiple keywords in one search.

  • AND: all words must appear. Responsibilities and food and scientist will show results that have all 3 of those words. 
  • OR: either word must appear. Responsibilities or functions will show results that have either of those words. 
  • NOT: one word will appear but another will not. Responsibilities not tasks will exclude any results that have the word tasks in them. 

Most search tools automatically add "and" in-between your search words, though you may not always see it in your search. If you have a phrase that you want to search for in its entirety, group the words in the phrase together using quotation marks so that the search tool will search for them as one idea instead of separately. Example: "food technologist"


Make Adjustments

If you aren't finding information, your search terms might be too specific. In some resources, you may need to take a step back and search a bigger idea.

If using "food technologist" isn't giving me a lot of information, I could try words that describe the industry or work environment instead, like "food manufacturing" or "food product development." For librarian, using libraries may include information about the daily tasks and work conditions librarians experience. For nurse, nursing or specific settings where nurses work (hospitals, urgent cares, doctor's offices) may provide additional information. 

Resources for job responsibilities, personality traits, experience, and skills information

Library Resources

You may be prompted to log in to these resources when you're off-campus. Just use your MyNCC login (student id number and password) to do so.  

Use SpartaCat to search for eBooks in the library's collections about the careers you are interested in. Choose Electronic Book from the Type drown down menu when you do your search. For step by step instructions, see the Finding eBooks page of this research guide, or watch the SpartaCat eBooks video tutorial

The Films on Demand streaming video library has multiple career and job-focused videos, including Q & A interviews with people currently working in the field.

Salem Careers is a special collection of searchable eBooks from Salem Press focusing on many popular careers. You can browse their entire selection of career books before choosing one to review or search within. You can also search the entire Salem collection of eBooks. 

EBSCO Discovery Service searches most of the library's databases and the library catalog at once. If you aren't finding enough information elsewhere, you can try searching this. You're likely to get a lot of results - so be sure to pick your search keywords carefully. Apply search filters and options (especially full-text) to help make your results manageable. See the EBSCO Discovery Service tutorial for a brief search demonstration.



Many of the websites below include subsections that focus on related career and occupation information beyond the basic factual profile or overview. Take some time to explore them beyond your immediate search needs. You may discover useful information through browsing as well as through direct searches. 

The Occupational Outlook Handbook provides information about typical job responsibilities, working conditions, training and education requirements, and expected job prospects over time for different careers and occupations.

Career Outlook includes articles, day in the life profiles, Q & A interviews, and data about many careers and occupations. It's designed to be used as a companion to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. 

Career One Stop provides information for many different types of job searchers and stages of the process. The Explore Careers tab will be the most useful for this project - it includes personality, values, and skills assessments and also profiles of occupations. 

The Princeton Review's Career Search provides day in the life overviews for a variety of careers and occupations. These overviews include information about typical and daily work responsibilities, training, experience, skills requirements, and long term outlooks. 

O*Net sponsors both the above websites that include useful career and occupation information. O*Net Online lets you explore careers and occupations and also has an advanced search allowing you to see careers connected to a skill, technology, tool, or software. My Next Move provides personality and skills assessments to help match you to a career.  


Professional Associations

You can also check to see if your career has an international, national, state, or regional professional association to support those working in the field. Often these websites include job postings and information about the profession and working conditions. Use Career One Stop's professional association finder to help you identify associations by name, industry, or occupation. 

From NCC Career Services

NCC Career Services also has valuable tools for you as you conduct your research, especially for finding the personality traits and local employment opportunities for your career.

  • Career GPS - includes career, personality, and work style assessment tools. Learn about employment prospects in the field, recent job postings, and income potential. The job listings and information provided are specific to the Lehigh Valley, Monroe County, and surrounding areas.
  • Handshake - sign up with your email to view job postings from local and regional employers.
  • Focus2 - a variety of assessments including academic strengths, personality, work interests, skills, and values will help match you to specific careers. Once you have the results of your Combined Assessments, begin researching the most current information on those careers and industries.

Visit Career Services full website for more information, resources, and help using the above resources. 

Evaluating Sources

Not everything found on the Internet is reliable or credible. 

Think critically about the information on websites and be sure to consider the criteria here to determine if the information is trustworthy and appropriate to use in academic research:

Authority - the source (author or publisher) and their expertise. 

  • Are the author's credentials, background, or experience provided?
  • Is the author a respected corporation, association, or government agency? A researcher in the field, a popular writer who has interest in the subject, or a total unknown who is stating his/her opinion on an issue about which he/she may not be knowledgeable?

Accuracy - the reliability and correctness of the information.

  • Has the site been edited, verified or peer-reviewed by others?
  • Are sources cited?

Objectivity - viewpoint or bias.

  • For what reason (to inform, to persuade, to advertise) is this information shared?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?
  • Is there a bias of any kind?

Currency - timeliness of the information

  • Is the information up-to-date?
  • When was the site produced or updated?
  • Does your topic require the most current information?

Coverage - level of detail or scope.

  • Are all aspects of the subject covered?
  • To what audience is the material aimed? (Scholars, general readers, children, etc.)

Relevance - importance or quality. 

  • Does the information meet your needs?