English 110 – Courington
About this Guide
This guide provides students with recommended resources for conducting research in English 110 with Professor Courington.
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Research paper on a topic of your choice. The topic should be one that really interests you, one that allows you to draw upon a range of sources, and one that can be explored in a paper that is 1,800-3,600 words in length. You should consult at least seven outside sources including one book, one magazine, one newspaper, one web source, and conduct one personal interview. The last two sources are your choice.
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Choosing a Topic
Reference sources are a great place to start, to get topic ideas and to get background information on your topic.
Print Reference Books
These resources are available in the Luria Library Reference section.
- Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Social Issues — R 306.0973 S528e 2011
- Encyclopedia of Social Problems — R 361.1 P261e
Online Reference Sources
These resources are available online and will require your Pipeline account information when you access them off campus.
- Credo Reference: Allows you to search for information in over 630 reference books at once. Click on “Find Topic Pages” for topic ideas.
Search the library catalog (books+) for your topic. To limit to books, choose the appropriate box from the menu to the left of your search results.
Tip: If you add the phrase “social conditions” to your searches, you may have more successful results.
Use the following databases to find articles from periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals). These resources will require your Pipeline account information when you access them off campus.
For pro/con information on current or controversial issues, try searching one of these databases:
Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Questions to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible:
- Purpose: How and why the source was created. Is it intended to educate, inform, persuade, sell, or entertain? Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)? Is the source designed for the general public, students, or experts?
- Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. Does the type of source meet your assignment’s requirements? Does the information answer your question, support your argument, or add something to your knowledge of the topic? Is it too general or too specific? Is it too basic or too advanced?
- Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? Do they leave out, or make fun of, important facts or alternative perspectives?
- Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. Do the authors support the information they present with strong factual evidence? Do they cite or provide links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources? Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources?
- Expertise: The authority of the creators of the source. What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, experience, or other expertise? Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Has the source been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review?
- Newness: The age of the information. Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful? When was the information presented in the source first published or posted? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?
For more help locating reliable information online, see the Finding Credible Web Sources research guide.
- Google Advanced Search
Try limiting domain (.edu or .gov) and filetype (pdf) to find more credible and relevant sources on the Internet.
The following websites have examples of good interviews: