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ENGL 1302 -- Dr. Wright

The purpose of this research guide is to help students in Dr. Allison Wright's ENGL 1302 class to find information for their annotated bibliography assignments.

Developing a Topic

What Is Your Research Topic?

Your first step is for your group to select a topic and then get approval for it from Dr. Wright. Consider following the instructions in the above video to compose a topic triangle. This will help you if you are starting with a broad topic and would like to make it more specific. For example, if you are looking at mental health in Houston, you could make a topic triangle that focuses your topic to:

  • Mental health resources for Latinas in Houston
  • Mental health challenges for students at Lone Star College

Or, if your topic is first generation college students, you could use the topic triangle process to focus your topic to:

  • Lone Star College--North Harris support for African American first generation college students
  • Scholarships and financial aid available to first generation college students at Lone Star College--North Harris
  • Challenges of Latino first generation college students at Lone Star College--North Harris

Or, if your topic is procrastination by college students, consider something more focused, such as:

  • The psychological causes of procrastination among college students
  • Evidence-based strategies for overcoming procrastination by college students

Whatever your topic is, I suggest actually writing down your topic triangle. The process of writing your topic will make it more concrete and thus easier to research.

Developing Keywords

What Are Your Keywords?

After you have written your topic triangle, you should develop keywords. These are search terms that you will use when using library resources and information information sources to find information for your annotated bibliography. Please watch the above video and write down keywords.

Consider, for example, the topic of mental health resources for Latinas in Houston. You could summarize this topic as:

  • Latina and Houston and mental health

But scholars often use the term Latinx to refer to Latino and Latina peoples and cultures, so you should also search for:

  • Latinx and Houston and mental health

Let's look at the topic of strategies for overcoming procrastination by college students. An obvious set of keywords would be:

  • college students and procrastination

But consider terms that are not necessarily synonyms for procrastination, but are related to the concept of procrastination, such as time management. You might therefore consider searching for

  • college students and time management

Whatever your keywords are, I suggest writing them down. Doing so will help make your topic and your approach to searching for it concrete.

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.

Search These 3 Databases

Search the three 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 three databases. All three of these databases are structured the same way, so the tutorial video applies to all of them.

Lone Star College Information Sources

Find Information from Lone Star College

Many of your research topics require information sources from Lone Star College itself, which provides a lot of data about students.

LSC Data & Statistics

LSC Resources for Students

US Census Information

Find Information from the US Census

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.

US Department of Labor Information

Find Information from the US Department of Labor

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

Texas State Health Information

Find Health Information from the State Government of Texas

The government of the State of Texas offers many useful sets of data about residents and describes services available to them.

Texas State Education Information

Find Education Information from the State Government of Texas

The government of the State of Texas collects information about educational services in the state.

City of Houston Health Information and Services

Find Health Information from the City Government of Houston

The government of the City of Houston offers many useful sets of data about residents and describes services available to them.

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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