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ENGL 2323 -- (Prof. Ettelson)

The purpose of this research guide is to help students in Prof. Ettelson's ENGL 2323 class to complete the annotated bibliography assignment.

Pre-Research

How to Do Background Research

As the above video explains, research is a process. The first stage of this process is called pre-research. That means doing background research about your topic. It's a lot easier to discover relevant sources of information about your topic if you know a bit about that topic. Professor Ettelson explains in the annotated bibliography assignment instructions that you should start with some background research about your author or the work that you are researching. Try that with these two databases listed below.

Developing Keywords

How to Develop Keywords

As Prof. Ettelson explains in the assignment instructions, you will choose "one work from the list to read and use for your annotated bibliography." Once you have chosen a topic and learned a bit about it through background research, it's time to develop keywords that you can use as search terms.

If you're choosing an author, then the search terms are fairly straightforward: the author's name. Let's say, for example, that you're researching the author Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Then your first search in the library databases should be:

  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Instead, let's consider writing about a work. Perhaps you've chosen Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." In that case, your search terms could be:

  • Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Introduction to 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.

Database: Academic Search Complete

How to Use Academic Search Complete

The video embedded above shows you how to search Academic Search Complete, which is a database of magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals on a wide variety of subjects. It includes many articles of literary criticism, which is your current field of research. Search it with your keywords. Make sure to limit your search results to scholarly journal articles for this assignment. There is no need, however, to put a date limit in your search.

Database: Literature Resource Center

How to Use Literature Resource Center

Another literature-focused database to search is Literature Resource Center. The above video shows you how to search it.

Database: JSTOR

How to Use JSTOR

JSTOR is a database of scholarly journals in the arts, the humanities, and the social sciences. It contains many works of literary criticism. The above video shows you how to search it.

Plagiarism

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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