What is this page for?
You are asked to make an analysis of an issue by selecting an element or theme that you have noted in your readings and class discussions. Included in any analysis is a discussion of what arguments are made to persuade the reader and how accurate the representation is. How you focus the paper will be discussed by your instructor in class and in your writing prompt.
With prompt in hand and an idea of the topic, this is where research comes in. The pages for this course guide are to help you locate the scholarly publications you need to include in your paper, with a page on using the proper MLA citation for the work you are incorporating into your essay.
Come to terms with...
There are some specialized terms in literature research that you should understand before starting your research.
- Scholarly publications: You need to use the best of the best for university-level research. This means using publications (books or articles) that have been written by scholars who specialize in your author or literature genre. To determine whether scholarly or not, refer to this short guide.
- Peer review publications: The very best of scholarly literature, these articles have been reviewed by authorities on the topic for content and soundness.
- Trade and professional publications: These are generally 'how to' or short articles and not considered scholarly.
Need some ideas?
There are some useful sites on the internet that can give you ideas, even if you cannot use them in your paper. Here are a couple of examples:
Starting your research...
1. Before searching, strategize what you need! The prompt will not only tell you how to address the text or topic, but tell you how many scholarly resources you need. Keep in mind that number is the MINIMUM required. Finding additional relevant books and articles will give you more to include in your own work.
2. What are you being asked to do?
- Research and write on a topic/issue concerning food.
- Environmental impact
- Religious beliefs
- Class distinction
- What are the sides on this issue? (No one agrees on everything, so there is always a counter argument)
- Business interests
- Individual rights v. collective rights
You may be interested in two or more topics and will find the easiest way to choose one is to find what has been written on each. The more that has been published in the scholarly literature on a topic, the better, as you can select the best from a number of sources to support your view and analysis.
From the prompt(s), write down a set of keywords to use in starting your searches for books and articles. Those keywords can be used in place of the examples given in the other pages of this guide. As you work, continue to note new related terms that you see and write down questions that arise and comments that you have. You may not use everything in your final work, but save yourself trying to recall what you found earlier and now do not remember where.
Also, keep in mind that computers (search engines) are literal. There is no correction for mispelling and the search algorithm will only match the characters you type in. If you are searching for information on gender issues, try the words 'women' or 'female' as well. The articles you need maybe specifically using those terms instead.
Last Update: January 21, 2015 08:53