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English Composition  

This guide will help you in choosing resources for your composition paper. It also reviews the things we discussed during your session in the library.
Last Updated: Aug 31, 2017 URL: Print Guide

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Finding a Topic

You already know that your paper needs to have an environmental focus. How do you choose a more specific topic within that broad concept? 

  • The weekly news magazine CQ Researcher covers "hot topics" in the news. Browse the index or search under the term environment. Pay attention to the bibliography at the end of the article to get suggestions for addtional articles or suitable web sites on the topic
  • Do some background reading in a subject encyclopedia. Here's one to try: Encyclopedia of Global Change: Environmental Change and Human Society (Call no. Ref. 363.7/EN19f)
  • Browse the current issues of an appropriate magazine like E: the Environmental Magazine -- current issues are available in print in the library or online via the Academic Search Complete database
  • Pick something you're interested in or something you've read about or seen featured on TV. Remember that it may not be easy to find information on all topics so you may need to modify your topic depending on how much information is available


Welcome to the guide for your English Composition course. This guide reviews what we discussed in class and will help you to locate and use the sources you'll need for your composition papers.

Click on the tabs to get more information on finding and using different types of resources. Don't forget to take a look at the Tips which may help you make better use of particular resources.

Remember that I'm always available to help so don't hesitate to contact me if you need further assistance.


Class Review

Here is a summary of the critical items we discussed during your library session:

  • Choosing a topic and refining it -- narrowing or broadening your scope
  • Locating books - keywords vs subject headings
  • Finding articles -- choosing the right database
  • Database search strategies
  • Peer reviewed vs popular
  • Getting the information
  • Keeping track of your research

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