This research guide is intended for use by students taking ENGL 101. It will help you learn how to use the library's resources for essays, research proposals, or research papers. Use the tabs above to see pages offering general research help, search strategies, to learn about different kinds of sources, and how to locate different kinds of sources. Tabs and pages marked with professor names provide helpful guidance specific to their classes or assignments.
Further below on this page, review what research is and isn't, get tips for choosing a topic, see topic suggestions, and find out what to do to start to learn more about your topic. You'll also see the ways you can get help from the librarians and learning center tutors.
Research is a systematic investigation of a topic through the study of materials and information sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
It is a process that is often not straightforward or linear. One search is not research, most often you will need several search sessions. It can be frustrating and time-consuming. It is likely to take you in unexpected directions. Exploration and learning is part of the process, so you need to allow time for discovery. Be open to pathways and finding information about your topic you didn't expect to.
Research involves several stages:
The process may look a little different every time you do it. Topics, questions, or prompts given to you by your professor may not need as much development and work as a topic or question of your own choice that you are exploring.
Different research topics require different research sources. Your scope and the size of the assignment may determine how many you need. An analysis of a piece of media or a text of literature may not require as many sources or the same types of sources as an informative or argumentative position paper or essay, for example.
When picking a topic, consider:
Need some inspiration? Here are suggestions from library databases (you may need to log in with NCC login, your student id number or username and Workday password):
Remember, you may need to revise and make adjustments to your topic as you start to find information about it.
If you have absolutely no knowledge about a topic when you are starting your search, it may be helpful to become more familiar with it by searching for it on Wikipedia or doing a Google search. Be careful:
What you can do instead:
Request a Book a Librarian research consultation to meet or video chat on a day and time convenient to your schedule.