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ENGL 102

Welcome to Our Guide to Research for Writing

These pages are designed to help students in ENGL102 through the process of researching for their writing assignments.

On this page, you will find some tips for selecting and refining a topic, and links to help with research (Ask a Librarian) and writing (OC Writing Center).

The next pages will help you:

Find Keywords

Find Encyclopedias

Find Books and Articles

Evaluate Sources

Citing in MLA 

Selecting/Refining a Research Topic

Ways to select a topic:

Brainstorming: Write down any broad topics suitable for your assignment that interest you.

Current event survey: Check a couple of reputable open web sources for topics of interest suitable for your assignment. For news articles, you could check Allsides and to focus on topics of debate you could check ProCon

Check library resources: Use CQ Researcher to browse current topics suitable for your assignment.


Ways to refine your topic:

Free associate: Write down ideas that come to you. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation at this point. If you are better at speaking than writing, try recording your ideas. You could sketch a drawing to capture any ideas you have about your topic.

Clustering/Mind mapping: Write your main idea in the center of a page, then write information about that idea around the topic. Draw lines to connect the ideas that belong together to help you refine your topic (example video).

Browse sources: Do a keyword search in the library catalog or article databases like Academic Search Complete to see how others have treated the topic, then browse those sources for ideas.

notebook, pen and glasses beside a laptop computer 

See also: