Once you have selected a topic, it's time to compose keywords. These are search terms that you will use when seeking information about your topic. For example, if you are looking at the relationship between stress and procrastination, you could use these keywords:
Or, if your topic is first generation Latina college students, you could use:
Or, if your topic is mental health and learning, you could try:
But that probably wouldn't be sufficiently specific. After all, do you really need research reports on the learning of kindergarten students? No, you're looking at college students. Therefore consider:
And if you're looking at how the mental health of college students impacts learning, consider:
If you're researching online learning, consider making your topic more specific, such as:
Whatever your topic is, I suggest actually writing down your keywords. The process of writing your topic will make it more concrete and thus easier to research.
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.
Search the four databases listed below to find scholarly journal articles published within the past three 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 four databases. All three of these databases are structured the same way, so the tutorial video applies to all of them.
Many of your research topics require information sources from Lone Star College itself, which provides a lot of data about students.
The US Bureau of the Census collects and disseminates a lot of demographic information about people in the United States. Explore these sites if you would like demographic information about an area, such as a city, a ZIP code, or a census tract.
How healthy is the economy of the Houston area? How does it affect residents like you? Consider your experiences in relation to these economic statistics from the US Department of Labor
The government of the State of Texas offers many useful sets of data about residents and describes services available to them.
The government of the State of Texas collects information about educational services in the state.
The government of the City of Houston offers many useful sets of data about residents and describes services available to them.
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.