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ENGL 1302 -- (Prof. Wright)


What Is Your Research Topic?

Your first step is to select a topic and then get approval for it from Prof. Wright.

Once you have done so, you should generate keywords. Keywords are search terms that you use when searching for information about your topic. The above video explains how you can write keywords. Watch it, then continue reading this section.

Condense your topic into just a few essential words. Here are a few examples:

  • college student and success and mental health
  • college student and success and procrastination
  • college student and success and financial aid

These keywords include mention of college students because that is the focus of your research. They also include "success" because this word is often used in the jargon of college education. But it's quite possible that articles that are relevant to your search could leave out the word "success." In that case, you could leave it out of your keywords:

  • college student and mental health
  • college student and procrastination
  • college student and financial aid

Developing useful keywords requires experimentation, so try different search terms in different combinations in different databases.

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.

How to Search Academic Search Complete

Search the three databases listed below to find scholarly journal articles published within the past five years about your topic. Make sure that you are limiting your search according to both of those requirements. You don't need newspaper articles published twenty years ago, but instead scholarly journal articles that reflect current research about college students' experiences.

The video embedded below shows you how to search Academic Search Complete, which is one of the two databases listed below. Both of these databases are structured the same way, so the tutorial video applies to both of them.


How to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is using someone else's work and giving the impression that it is yours. This video describes plagiarism in detail and how you can avoid it.

In addition to watching this video, you should look at this brochure about academic integrity from the college. It describes plagiarism and other forms of cheating as defined by the Lone Star College System.

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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