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Free College Movements: Researching the Movement

Types of Sources

students studying at college library   








Are you considering doing academic research to examine the free college movements for a paper, project or presentation?

If so, we recommend you use both primary and secondary sources representing different points of view.

This page provides:

  •  recommended databases for finding articles
  •  suggested keywords & search strategy 
  • how to find statistics
  • how to find films and media broadcasts etc.

Also in this research guide:

Looking for sources we recommend? Here's a page we've curated.

Looking for sources on the most current debate on free college (pro/con)? Start here.

Considering interviewing an expert or perhaps students for your project? Start here.

Would you like to Ask a Librarian or schedule an appointment for help as you get started? Go here.

Looking for Statistics?

The Statistical Abstract of the United States: This website compiles data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and many other Federal agencies and private organizations from 1878-2012.

Canada College students have access to Statista database (Log in as you would to Canvas).

College of San Mateo students can access:

RAND California  CSM only logo

Statistical information on California. Includes population & demographics; health & health care; business & economics; crimes, prisons, & courts; labor force, employment & earnings; energy; environment, resources & weather; K-12 & higher education; income, expenditure, wealth, & poverty; social insurance & human services; transportation & travel; and federal, state, & local government information.

Statistical Abstract of the United States [ProQuest]  CSM only logo

Summary of US social, political and economic statistics taken from Federal agencies and private organizations.

Statistical Insight [ProQuest]  CSM only logo

Summary of US social, political and economic statistics taken from Federal agencies and private organizations.

Find more information on the Statistics page. 

Using OneSearch

Find books and articles at Skyline College Library with undefined

About OneSearch

Search Strategies: Using KeyWords

Keyword searching terms & strategy

1. Select the "Advanced Search" or "More Search Options" feature on any library article database.

2. Divide your query into it's key concepts or ideas represented by keywords or phrases in quotation marks.

3. Use the OR command between words that mean the same or similar things.

For example:

Concept #1     tuition-free OR "tuition free" OR "debt free" OR "free education" OR "student debt" OR anti-fee

Concept #2     "higher education" OR "higher ed" OR colleges OR universities OR "community college"

Concept #3     protest* OR strike* OR march* OR boycott* OR activism OR activist*

Concept #4 optionally: students

Need help with this step? Ask a Librarian!

Ask a Librarian

Not sure where to start? 


Specialized Article Databases

Newspaper Databases 


Current and archived information from thousands of newspaper titles, as well as newswires, web editions, blogs, videos, broadcast transcripts, business journals, periodicals, government documents and other publications.

Newspaper Source Plus

860 full-text newspapers, providing more than 35 million full-text articles. In addition, the database features more than 857,000 television and radio news transcripts.