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English 1A and 1B: Researching a Topic

Your Guide - Click on the tabs to move through the tutorial

Choose a Topic:



  • Choose something that interests you! You'll enjoy it and do a better job
  • Pay attention to the requirements of your assignment
  • Choose something broad enough to give you several search options
  • Choose something that is focused enough that you’re not overwhelmed with information.

Do some background research using:

  • Your assignment

  • Your textbook

  • Bibliographies found at the end of books and articles

  • Online searches (Wikipedia could get you started but never cite from here)

  • Look for words that may be significant to your topic. Example: social mobility, upward mobility, etc. may be words associated with "The American Dream"

Refine your ideas:

If you find that your topic is too broad, add another aspect to it.  Each time you add an aspect (and a keyword to your search), you will narrow your ideas a bit. Too broad a topic will result in too many search results.  But beware--too narrow a topic will result in difficulty finding information resources.


Find out more about your topic in our Books and Electronic Databases Collection. Why would you want to use these sources over the internet?

  • Reliability
  • Preferred sources by your professors
  • Available 24-7 from anywhere
  • Easy to use, download and cite!

If you need more help, ask us for help at the reference desk, or online. We are happy to help!

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