Skip to Main Content

ENGL 1301 -- Research Paper -- Prof. Vest

The purpose of this research guide is to help students find information sources for Prof. Vest's compare and contrast essay assignment.

Developing a Topic

What Is Your Research Topic?

What, precisely, is your topic? Answering this question is part of the pre-writing phase of this assignment. I suggest that you watch the above video and write a topic triangle for your assignment. Once you have a topic triangle developed, write a research question. Actually write it down. The act of writing helps make vague ideas concrete. So take your time to develop your research topic.


What Are Your Keywords?

Once you have chosen a topic and have Prof. Vest's approval for that topic, the next step for you to take is to generate keywords. Keywords are the search terms that you will use to find information about your topic. This video explains how to compose keywords from your topic.

Take your time to carefully develop keywords for your research topic. Your research will be easier if you do so. Write them down.

Intro to Databases

Introduction to the Databases

It is now time to look for in-depth sources of information about your topic. For this purpose, we will use the library's databases. Have you used the library's databases before? If not, then I suggest watching this brief video tutorial before you proceed.


Search Credo Reference

How to Search Credo Reference

Credo Reference is a database of reference books. It's a great place to begin many research tasks because the brief, concise articles in this database can teach you about your research topic before you explore more complex and detailed information sources about your topic. You can also use the articles in Credo Reference as sources of information for your research paper. The above video shows you how to search it.

Look down for a link to the database.

Search Issues & Controversies

How to Search Issues & Controversies

If your topic is a controversial one, such as a political or social controversy, then the database Issues & Controversies is a useful took for finding out the arguments on different sides of that controversy and evidence for them. You can find a tutorial video above. There's a link to database below.

Search Academic Search Complete

How to Search Academic Search Complete

Another database that you should search is Academic Search Complete, which is a database of newspaper, magazine, and scholarly journal articles on many different subjects. The video above shows you how to search it. Look down for a link to the database.

Search US Major Dailies

How to Search US Major Dailies

The next video shows you how to search US Major Dailies, which is a database of articles from several US national newspapers. Consider using this database to find current news about the topic that you are researching.

MLA Documentation

How to Cite Your Sources in MLA

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. 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. 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.

Ask a Librarian

Today's Hours