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English 1010/1011

Getting Started

Don't wait until the last minute. 

The earlier you start your research, the more time you'll have to complete a successful paper or project. Sometimes finding a topic that works for you and doing research can take awhile! Use the Assignment Calculator to help you plan your research and writing timeline. 

Picking your topic:

The research process:

Steps to the research process. Select topic, analyze topic, do background research, create search strategy and select tools, search for sources, evaluate sources


Try different keywords.

  • Identify the most important 2-4 words from your research question. These are your key concepts.
  • For each key concept, make a list of other words/phrases with the same or related meanings. These will be your keywords!


- Use a thesaurus to find synonyms or similar phrases.
- If you don't know enough about your topic, Google your topic to gather more keywords.

Remember: Your search results will directly reflect the language you use. 

Academic language = academic results. 

Where to Get Articles

Use the library's Quick Search from the homepage.

Do a keyword search based on your topic. Feel free to limit the results by date, relevance, or type of source. In these databases you will find a mixture of scholarly and popular sources. 

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