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ENGL 100 - Isaacson: Home

Step-by-step research instructions for your final English 100 Essay

Navigating the Text to World Essay

Before you launch your research, take some time to examine the essay prompt. Being familiar with your instructor's guidelines is key to your success on any research project. Review prompt often as you research and write your essay to make sure you are on track. 

Step One: Choose a Meaningful, Appropriate Topic

Carefully review the topics options your professor has listed for your final. Which one is most interesting or meaningful to you? If necessary, do some basic web searches on each option to learn a little more about them. Gale eBooks is another great place to learn more about topics. Librarians are happy to help you brainstorm potential topics. Have your assignment description ready when you meet with a librarian to facilitate the experience.

Step Two: Do Some Preliminary Reading

Once you've decided on a topic option, do some background reading to get better acquainted with it. How are other researchers and writers discussing your topic? What seem to be the most important and/or controversial aspects of your topic? What arguments are being presented?

Preliminary reading is a great help in developing your main points (definitions, background, causes,  effects, etc.), It will also help you identify useful search terms for future database searching. The point is not necessarily to start gathering your actual sources -- though you may very well find some along the way -- but to get comfortable with your topic by consulting engaging, easy to understand sources.


Step Three: Create Some Questions to Guide Research

Create some basic questions to guide your inquiry and get you to start thinking about the structure of your paper. As you start to answer basic questions like "What is consumerism?" or "What are the effects of social media use?" you'll likely revise or add questions. This is a normal part of the research process.

Step Four: Find Your Sources

The MJC Library & Learning Center subscribes to roughly 100 databases. Listed below are some of our most popular databases; an MJC research librarian will be happy to point you toward the best database(s) for your given topic. A complete list of MJC Databases can be found under the Articles and Databases link on the MJC Library & Learning Center home page. 


Step Five: Evaluate ALL Sources Before Use

CRAAP Test criteria

Step Six: Cite Your Sources Appropriately

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