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Library Research Guides

Research Strategies: Understand Your Assignment

Choosing a Topic

Choosing a Topic:

Is a topic provided for you?

  • Are you confined to a certain literary work/era/culture?

Can you choose your own?

  • Choose a topic you care about.
  • Or a topic you want to learn more about

There is always a possibility as you continue to work on your assignment that your topic can change slightly (especially if you are able to choose your own)

Research Strategy

Writing an Essay? Need Help?

Creating a Research Strategy is a great way to begin.

  • The Assignment Calculator is a useful tool that breaks down the writing steps, offers advice and resources, and even creates a timeline to complete your paper.

Know Your Assignment

To begin any Essay/Research Paper, the first step is knowing what your assignment is asking for.

  • What is the assignment asking you to do?
  • What type of essay are you writing?
    • Is it Argumentative? Descriptive?
  • How many sources do you need?
  • What types of sources will you need?
    •   Books? Articles? Websites?

Differences between Articles

Here is a list of differences between magazine and journal articles:

Magazine Articles

  • are current events and general interest articles
  • are brief articles written for the general public
  • are written by journalists
  • generally do not contain any references or footnotes
  • are reviewed by magazine employees before they are published

Journal Articles

  • contain news and research topics from a specific field of interest
  • are long, in-depth articles written for experts and scholars in the field
  • are written by subject experts in the field
  • include references or footnotes
  • are reviewed by peers before they are published