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ENC 1101: Written Communication: Robinson

Starting Page for All ENC1101 Courses


Welcome to the Library Guide for ENC1101 - Prof. Robinson

Please contact an SCF Librarian if you need assistance



is the use of ideas, facts, opinions, illustrative material, data, direct or indirect wording of another scholar and/or writer-professional or student-without proper credit.

Expulsion, suspension, or any lesser penalty may be imposed for plagiarism."


Avoid Plagiarism


How to Research: Picking & Refining a Topic

Topic Selection & Refining

General advice:

- Where possible pick something that interests you.

- Be open to questioning your assumptions.

- Avoid topics that are too broad or too narrow: if you are interested in climate change for instance, focus on a specific issue under that umbrella rather than trying to tackle the entire thing.

- Read widely to strengthen your knowledge of a topic so that you can use more precise search terms and get better results.

- If experts disagree, try to figure out what methods and reasoning the experts used to arrive at their different conclusions. Where do they diverge from each other? 

Resources for Starting Research:

These databases and digital resources are particularly helpful for starting a research assignment. They are easy to navigate and provide detailed and authoritative information.

Research Tips

Read Your Assignment 

Take the time to read over your assignment carefully.  Take notice of the length, word count needed, topic guidelines, and resources required. 

Narrowing your topic 

If you choose a broad topic, such as education, try to narrow it down further.  For example:  home schooling, college costs, Ivy Leagues v Public Universities. 

Use Boolean Searches 

When using the databases, remember to use Boolean operators. These are And, Or, Not.  It is another way to narrow your results.  For example: 

Red Tide and Florida, Red Tide not Florida 

Use Library Resources 

Using credible library resources, either books, e-resources, or streaming video, will help you with your research paper.  It is much easier to find credible information using Library resources than it is to search the internet. While you may find information on your topic through an Internet search, it will be up to you to determine the validity of the information.  Instructors will expect your resources to be of a scholarly nature. 

Citing Your Work 

Remember you must cite your work.  Giving proper credit to the sources you used is vital.  Many students lose points through improper citation or no citations.   

Your librarian is here to help you with all of your research and citation needs.

Advanced Research Strategies

One you've gained some basic understanding of your topic, you may need to find more information. You may find yourself in need of additional information not found in the basic reference databases, in need of peer reviewed sources, or required to find print resources.

Advanced Research Tips:

- Practice using the "Advanced Search" options where possible: see what happens when you check and uncheck certain boxes, when you use more or fewer search terms, when you do "subject" or "title" searches instead of "any field."

- Use the filter options in your search results to help sort through large numbers of search results to find what you're looking for.

- If you can't find an article that says exactly what you need it to say then its time to change your mind or your search strategy. The research should be telling you what to say, not your gut.

- Peer Review represents the highest standard for quality but it is a process that takes time which means you may not find a large quantity of peer reviewed sources on every topic. Due to limits of time, geography, language, or social status, not every story gets recorded for the historical record in the level of detail we might want it to be.

Advanced Research Resources

These databases and resources will help you get that extra level of quality and scholarly rigor that you need. They may be less straight forward to use than Google but with patience and experimentation, they can be powerful tools.