Reference Librarian for Arts & Letters
Research Guide for English - Composition
Here is a guide to help you identify good places to go to find the evidence you need when conducting research for writing assignments.
Use these encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference tools to find biographical information on particular people, summaries of major events and concepts, and other entries that give you background descriptions on people, places, things and ideas.
Find a Topic
There are databases like Facts on File: Issues and Controversies, Points of View Reference Center, and CQ Researcher with lists of research topics, controversial issues, and current happenings in the U.S. Congress to help get you started. Find summaries of the pros and cons of controversial issues, lists of articles about your topic, bibliographies for more information and other helpful resources in all of these databases.
Once you decide what topic you would like to investigate, there are general and subject databases that contain information about articles written on that subject. Often, the entire article ("full-text") is available for download. Since you may be writing on any number of subjects, the databases listed here are very general. Go to the Databases by Subject link to find databases on a particular subject.
While your research paper may not require that you read entire books, you may discover anthologies of essays or particular chapters in these longer works provide information you need. The library catalog is the best place to search for books.
New Titles in the Libraries
View the New Titles Lists in the library catalog to find out what's been added to the collection in the past month.
FAQ about the Libraries
For more help using library resources and services, try our FAQ.