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Thigpen Library Research Guides

ENGL 1010 & 1020: 2. Choose

Research process and resources for ENGL 1010 & 1020 essays

Background research

Do not make the research segment of your assignment hard.

Choose your topic carefully.

Before you commit to a topic be sure you can readily find sufficient information that meets the assignment requirements.

Video: Picking Your Topic IS Research

This 3 minute narrated video offers tips for choosing a topic and developing a research strategy. Watch below or use the full-size version.

Problems? Try a different web browser or computer. This video uses Adobe Flash.

Research tools: reference materials

Reference resources are useful to learn about a topic so you can develop an effective search strategy. Credo Reference does link to Vol State databases to help you find credible sources.

Wikipedia and other encyclopedias are not appropriate sources for an academic paper, but are appropriate tools to learn about your topic.

Research tools: recommended databases

This step of the research process will likely produce some suitable sources for your assignment, but more research will be needed. When you are comfortable with your topic selection proceed to Step 3.

Each recommended database has a different purpose. For best results use as described.

CQ Researcher

Description: This database only has the periodical CQ Researcher. Each issue of CQ Researcher is an in-depth report on a current or controversial subject in the U.S. written by experienced journalists and has a bibliography.

Use: topic selection and initial research
 
Tips: Select "Browse Topics" instead of using the search bar to find your topic.  Skim any report related to your topic to learn about the topic, discover good search terms, and perhaps find a focus for your assignment. Pay close attention to the currency of the report.
 

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

Description: A TEL database published by Gale Cengage Learning focusing on current social issues. Each topic portal provides a variety of resources including pro/con viewpoint essays and published information sources on a controversial subjects. 

Use: topic selection and initial research
 
Tips: Do not search; browse the available issues. Skim the viewpoint essays to gain an understanding of the issue and find a topic of interest.

ProQuest Research Library

Description: This library database is a general periodical index database. In this database you will find newspapers and wire feeds, magazines, trade journals (specialized magazines), and scholarly journals including peer-reviewed.  ProQuest covers a wide variety of topics and is a suitable research tool for most subject areas.

Use: for initial and in-depth research of scholarly and popular sources
 
Tips: Search to discover information sources available on your potential topic. Check the publication date. Are the articles of sufficient length? Did you limit your search to full-text (the complete article)? Use the results to find additional search terms.