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ENGL 1301 -- Dr. Bryant

The purpose of this research guide is to help students find information for their Hot Topic assignments in Week 5 of ENGL 1301.

Your Topic

What Is Your Research Topic?

What would you like to write about? Brainstorm ideas and then compose topic triangles as explained in the above video. Focus your ideas into a concrete topic, then 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 how gun control laws in Texas, consider the following keywords:

  • gun control
  • gun control and Texas
  • gun rights
  • gun rights and Texas
  • concealed carry and Texas
  • open carry and Texas

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 Issues & Controversies

It's helpful to gain background information about the topic about which you are writing. What is the controversy? What are the arguments on different sides of that controversy? What evidence exists to support each side? An excellent source of introductory information is the database Issues & Controversies. The above video shows you who to search it. There is a link to the database below.

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.

How to Search US Major Dailies

Search the database US Major Dailies to find newspaper articles published within the past three years about your topic. 

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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