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ENGL 104: English Composition

Select a Research Topic

  • Choose a topic that interests you
  • Read through background information
  • Write out your topic as a statement and select the main concepts
  • Start making a list of words to describe your topic (try to come up with 3 or 4)
  • Come up with synonyms for the list of words that describe your topic

Having trouble deciding what to write about? Try using the links below for ideas:

Search Tips

  • Use terms found in your background reading on the subject
  • Use the Thesaurus or Subject Terms listings, if available, in the databases you are searching
  • When you find a record for an item that is useful to you, look at its subject headings or descriptors for more ideas

If you get too many results— 

  • Consider narrowing down the search terms in an Abstract or even in the Title field
  • Try searching by Subject, rather than by Keyword (or by a combination of Subjects and Keywords or other fields)
  • Try phrase searching (usually by using " " around the phrase)
  • Use other limiters, if appropriate, such as a specific type of publication (Peer Reviewed, for example) or a specific time period

If your search does not yield enough results---

  • Check your search to see if you entered it and spelled it as you intended
  • Try other search terms and use OR between the terms to find items with any one of the terms
  • Try using a truncation symbol (often an *) to retrieve results with varying forms of a word (educat*, for example)
  • Look at the bibliographies of items that are closely related to your topic. 
  • Search in a different database or ask a reference librarian

Useful Databases

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact the library at libref@pnw.edu.