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ENGL 1301 -- Dr. Bryant -- Cause/Effect Essay

The purpose of this research guide is to help students find information sources and cite them correctly for the cause and effect essay assignment in Week 7.

Your Topic

What Is Your Research Topic?

What would you like to write about? Focus your ideas into a concrete topic. What is the effect that you are studying? What potential cause for that effect are you studying?

You should be able to complete the following sentences:

  • "The effect that I am studying is ______________."
  • "The cause for this effect that I am studying is ______________."

Next, ask Dr. Bryant for approval.


You can think of keywords as a breakdown of a topic in a way that searchable information tools, such as databases, can understand. We use keywords as search terms to retrieve from databases the information that we want. Following the instructions in the video, write out a list of keywords that you think might be helpful to you. For example, if your topic is causes for high crime, consider the following keywords:

  • crime and poverty
  • crime and education
  • crime and incarceration rates
  • crime and recidivism
  • crime and deterrence

Introductory Articles from Databases

Database Basics

Now that you have keywords, it's time to search the databases. Have you used the databases before? If you don't have recent experience with our library's databases, then I suggest watching this introductory video above.

How to Search Credo Reference

It's helpful to gain background information about the topic about which you are writing. What effect are you studying? What are some potential causes? Explore the database Credo Reference for introductory articles about your topic.

In-Depth Articles from Other Databases

Searching Academic Search Complete

Academic Search Complete is a database of newspaper, magazine, and scholarly journal articles. It's an excellent source of information for more in-depth research. The video tutorial above shows you how to search it. You can find a link to the database below.

MLA Documentation

How to Cite Your Sources

You must cite your sources according to the MLA style of documentation.

This is our video that introduces MLA documentation. I urge you to watch the entire video carefully before starting to write your paper or annotated bibliography. It is much easier to cite correctly as you go along, rather than try to fix your documentation after you have written your paper.

This is our sample paper. When you're writing a paper, you can model the formatting of your paper after this one. If you are unsure how to set up the formatting in Microsoft Word so that it fits the requirements for MLA formatting, you could instead download this blank Word document that has the formatting already set up for you.

This is our 2-page handout that summarizes the MLA style. It includes most of the types of sources that students commonly use.

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