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English: Getting Started

Course-Specific Guides

You can use this guide for general English research, or go to the guide specific to your English course if it is listed below.

Getting Started

Before you Begin: Know the Assignment

  • What type of paper is this? Informative? Argumentative? Research? Creative?
  • What question are you trying to answer?
  • 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

  • What is your thesis? Unless you are writing a creative paper, you should have a thesis that you are trying to support.
  • What are the keywords in your thesis statement or in the question you are trying to answer? These will become your search terms.
    Example Thesis: "Teenagers from poor homes are more likely to go to jail than other teenagers."
    Example Keywords: Teenagers, Poor, Jail
  • Brainstorm additional search terms by finding words with similar meanings.
    Example 1, Keyword "Teenagers": Youth, Teen, Underage, Adolescent
    Example 2, Keyword "Poor": Poverty, Impoverished, Underprivileged
    Example 3, Keyword "Jail": Incarceration, Prison, Detention

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