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First Year Composition Instructor's Guide

ENG 101, ENG 107, ENG 102, ENG 108, ENG 105

Sequencing research instruction

Instruction Librarians at ASU have years of experience conducting presentations and workshops to first year composition classes.  One issue we encounter is we often repeat much of the same information and research tools to both the first and second semester composition classes.  To reduce the amount of duplication of between ENG 101's and 102's, we have some suggestions that we think will build students skills and knowledge across their first year in a sequential way.  Keep in mind these are only general suggestions.  Your research assignments will dictate what we cover in your individual classes.  Our ultimate goal is to give students what they need to succeed when given research assignments in your classes and beyond during the rest of their college careers at ASU. 

ENG 101/107 

Have students gather their resources primarily from Academic Search Premier (ASP).  ASP is a multidisciplinary database with a good mix of scholarly and popular periodical sources. 

  • The interface is transparent and easily navigated, but allows for basic exposure to specialized database searching such as limiting searches to keywords, combining keywords into search strings effectively, limiting searches to types of publications, dates, saving selected results and so on.
  • Retrieves both popular and scholarly  periodical articles which helps illustrate the difference to students in one one resource.
    • Student papers can draw from both popular and scholarly articles and be asked to summarize or write about the differences between the two.  This is an essential skill many new students need as college writers.
  • ASP's strength is its scope not depth.  Sources from different disciplines can be examined, gathered and synthesized.  It is useful for comparing how different disciplines approach a topic.
  • Unless a student has a very specialized or focused topic, most students will find what they need in ASP if they only need a handful of sources (say five to ten), even scholarly sources. 
  • In short, it is a good source for students to see what makes a university library's resources unique and to get their feet wet without drowning them in detail.

Consider using Opposing Viewpoints in Context and one or two Background resources in conjunction with ASP.

  • Opposing Viewpoints provides a mix of topic sources that are organized in clearly defined pro and con categories.  Sources range from encyclopedia entries, opinion pieces, magazine articles, and news items to scholarly journal articles.  
    • It is a good resource for introducing students to their topics (which they may know little about) and helping them gather enough background to formulate a preliminary research question. 
  • Like using ASP to illustrate the differences between popular and scholarly sources, Opposing Viewpoints in Context and the background resources introduces students to other common information formats.  Instruction can include how to use such sources and their use or acceptability in scholarly writing. 


ENG 102/108/105

The research assignments in the second semester composition classes (and the single semester 105's) usually contain greater expectations and sophistication.  Now is a good time to broaden the scope and introduce students to One Search (on the Library Home Page).  

  • One Search is the primary search interface for almost all of the ASU Library's collections, online and in print.  Access to the vast majority of our database collections are part of One Search, plus the ASU Library catalog (books and media and a plethora of other "single issue" items) and open access sources.
  • Provides a comparison to a database such as Academic Search Premier.  Students will go from a database with a limited number of selected sources to a comprehensive, "universal" search engine that retrieves almost everything available.  
  • Includes search limits: by format (books, articles, peer review articles, media, government documents and more), by date, and by subject among other options.  
    • Can discuss the pros and cons of different formats for particular assignments or research needs and of general vs. subject specific searching.  
    • Introduce access to subject specific and specialized databases the ASU Library has available.  Discuss when it is appropriate to focus on a subject specific database depending on the context and need.

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.