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ENG 111: College Composition I (Hughes-Loudoun)

Research tips for your term paper! Direct comments and questions to Eliza Selander,

How to Use Reference Books

Encyclopedias are are great resources for gathering background information on your topic, as well as for:

  • Defining important vocabulary words related to your topic,
  • Finding a basic overview and main issues related to your topic, and
  • Finding references to additional resources.

They are good resources to use in the beginning stages of your research for learning more about your topic, but they should not be part of your cited reference list.

Encyclopedia Search Tips

Since encyclopedia articles focus on basic, general information about a topic, what you type in the search box should also be general:

YES:  "Video Games"

YES:  "Video Games" and "addiction"

NO:  How does video game addiction affect the socialization of teenagers?

Getting Started - Resources for Background Information


The Credo Reference database includes a

great MindMap tool (see example at right)

to help you brainstorm topic ideas.


You'll find another great brainstorming

tool in the Opposing Viewpoints database:

Click on "Browse Issues" to see a long list

of topic ideas in alphabetical order.


Find more databases below: