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English 101: Getting Started

Getting Started

Before you Begin: Know the Assignment

  • What type of paper is this? Informative? Argumentative? Research? Creative?
  • What question are you trying to answer?
  • Is there more than one part to the assignment?
  • What length is your final paper supposed to be?
  • How many resources are required?
  • What types of resources are required?
  • When is the assignment due?

Before Searching

  • What is your thesis? Unless you are writing a creative paper, you should have a thesis that you are trying to support.
  • What are the keywords in your thesis statement or in the question you are trying to answer? These will become your search terms.
    Example Thesis: "Teenagers from poor homes are more likely to go to jail than other teenagers."
    Example Keywords: Teenagers, Poor, Jail
  • Brainstorm additional search terms by finding words with similar meanings.
    Example 1, Keyword "Teenagers": Youth, Teen, Underage, Adolescent
    Example 2, Keyword "Poor": Poverty, Impoverished, Underprivileged,
    Example 3, Keyword "Jail": Incarceration, Prison, Detention,

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