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English 101 Research Guide

English 101 First Year Experience

Finding a Topic

Having trouble choosing a topic? Try our database for CQ Researcher Plus Archive. You'll get ideas and the background you need to start your research.

Finding Resources

Keep in mind that journals can either be scholarly or popular. 

Generally, scholarly journals are peer-reviewed.  This simply means that an editorial board made up of faculty members reads each submitted article and publishes only those that meet academic standards of quality research.

You can even filter your search results in Searchbox to only contain peer-reviewed material. 

Popular journals, on the other hand, tend to have less rigorous standards, and generally contain news, opinions, or professional advice for people working in a particular field. Many popular journals are referred to as a "bulletin" or "newsletter."

The Seven Steps to Effective Library Research

Seven steps to effective library research
adapted from Michael Engle at Cornell University Library

1. Identify Your Topic.
Identify and develop your topic, including main concept and keywords for effective searching.
We suggest: searching library holdings or periodical indices.

2. Find Context.
Know the background information about your topic to put it in context.
We suggest: subject encyclopedias, bibliographies, dictionaries, and of course, textbooks.

3. Find Books (Or eBooks, Or Videos, Or Other Media).
Find resources on your topic that are relevant to your research. 
We suggest: searching library holdings, or a database like WorldCat, which shows library holdings across the world.

4. Find Articles.
Use Searchbox or databases to find scholarly, peer-reviewed articles from reputable journals.
We suggest: Searchbox, scholarly databases on the library website, and Google Scholar, among others.

5. Find Internet Resources.
Yes, you can use Google to find scholarly resources! Learn how here.
We suggest: Google, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Bing… Whatever you’re most comfortable with.

6. Evaluate Your Sources.
Sometimes it takes time to find the right sources. If what you’ve come up with isn’t quite right, consider narrowing or broadening your scope.
We suggest: using book reviews or other recommended resources, or consulting with your professor about changing the scope of your topic.

7. Cite Your Sources.
Prepare your bibliography according to the citation style your professor has assigned.
We suggest: handbooks or online resources for common citation styles, such as MLA, APA, or Chicago.