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English 104 for Distance Students: Getting Started

Getting Started

Before you Begin: Know the Assignment

  • Is there more than one part to the assignment?
  • What length is your final paper supposed to be?
  • How many resources are required?
  • What types of resources are required?
  • When is the assignment due?

Before Searching: Develop a Strategy

  • PRE-search several topics that you are interested in to see what kind of information is available. Will there be enough to support the assignment requirements?
  • Company websites can be a good start for gathering background information & keywords, but keep in mind that they are usually there to market their services.
  • Is there a way to narrow or expand your topic using keywords? These will become your search terms.
    Example Thesis: "The Chocolate Industry in Africa is taking advantage of local workers. "
    Example Keywords: Chocolate, Africa, Workers
  • Brainstorm additional search terms by finding words with similar meanings.
    Example 1, Keyword "Chocolate": Cocoa (similar term), Hershey Co. (narrower term)
    Example 2, Keywords "taking advantage of": Human Rights, Social Justice, Abuse
    Example 3, Keyword "Workers": Employees, Labor, Contractors, Farme

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