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English Composition LAN 101: The Big Picture

Welcome to your LAN 101 research guide

Where to Start

Developing a good thesis

The first step of research is investigative background research. The aim of this research is to understand the scope, language, and key terms of your subject. Let me show you some academic tools to help you do background research.

Reference Resources: 

  • Give you the big picture
  • Indicate major issues associated with the topic
  • Give broad and general overviews

Reference Works

Reference Works: Provide short, authoritative articles that are non-technical and have full bibliographies.  These are good to read when you do not have much experience with the topic you are researching.

  • Where to start: Subject specific encyclopedias and dictionaries
  • Some examples would be International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia of Counseling.
  • Credo is a database of over 700 encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases and reference handbooks.
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Putting it all together

  1. Choose a topic–Consult reference works to build a foundation of essential ideas and search terms.
  2. Formulate a specific research question–This is the single focus of your research.
  3. Formulate a hypothesis–This is your educated guess that answers the specific research question.
  4. Identify questions–These are questions that must be answered to test and validate this hypothesis.
  5. Answer questions and revise the hypothesis–Consult books and scholarly journals. These resources, along with magazines and newspapers, will shed light on what both the academic community and public audience thinks of the topic formulated in the hypothesis
  6. Craft a thesis–By now you should have enough information to write your thesis statement defining what you will discuss in your paper
  7. Support the thesis–Use the library resources you found along the way.

Research Paper