This Library Guide will help you use the library to find the sources you'll need for your English Composition papers.
Use the Select a Topic tab if you are having trouble choosing what to write about.
Use the Research Questions tab for extra help writing your thesis statements.
Use the Background Information tab to find background information on your topic.
Use the Search Strategies tab to learn how to search using additional keywords.
Use the Research Databases tab to access articles from library databases.
Use the Evaluating Sources tab to learn strategies for determining if your sources are credible.
Use the Citation & Avoiding Plagiarism tab to know when and why to cite.
Use the Online Tutorials tab to learn how to conduct library research at your own pace.
If you need help with your particular research task or would like some advice about how to conduct your research, use any of the options to the left There is also a link to our online service and to Librarians who regularly work with first-year composition classes and students.
Instructors, please visit our First Year Composition Instructor's Guide for more information regarding instruction support for your classes!
How to do Research
STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR TOPIC
SUMMARY: Brainstorm topic ideas using the internet and library resources, then state your topic as a question. For example, if you are interested in finding out about self esteem in teenagers, you might pose the question, "What effect does use of Instagram have on self esteem of High School students?"
STEP 2: DEVELOP YOUR RESEARCH QUESTION
SUMMARY: Watch videos, read articles, and explore more information around the topic that you chose. Take notes on what you find most interesting and engaging about your topic. Ask yourself the 5 W's: who, what, where, when, and why. Use the answers to these questions to formulate an open ended research question.
STEP 3: FIND BACKGROUND INFORMATION
SUMMARY: Learn more about your topic by reading articles in encyclopedias. Note any interesting topics or information in the bibliographies at the end of the encyclopedia articles and keep a research notebook on the related topics and key words you find. Use this new information to identify the main concepts or keywords in your question.
STEP 4: DEVELOP A SEARCH STRATEGY TO FIND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
STEP 5: USE THE LIBRARY TO RESEARCH ARTICLES AND INFORMATION
SUMMARY: Use guided keyword searching to find materials on your topic. Copy the article permalink/URL, or write down the citation (author, title, etc.) and the location information (call number and library) if you find a physical book on your topic. When you pull the book from the shelf, look at the bibliography for additional sources.
If you have found too many or too few sources, you may need to narrow or broaden your topic. If you get stuck, ask a librarian for help.
STEP 7: CITE WHAT YOU FIND
Give credit where credit is due: cite your sources.
Citing or documenting the sources used in your research serves two purposes: it gives proper credit to the authors of the materials used, and it allows those who are reading your work to duplicate your research and locate the sources that you have listed as references. When other authors cite their sources properly, you can also use their research to help you with your own!
Knowingly representing the work of others as your own is plagiarism. Use the "plagiarism" tab in this guide to help you properly cite and avoid plagiarizing another persons work.
The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.