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EGL 102 - Robert Serb - Fall 2021

English 102 Robert Serb Guide


Hi, My name is Gwyneth Stupar.  I have been at Oakton Library for 5 years and I love it here.  In the past, I worked in public libraries.  The main takeaway I want every student to know in every class is that we are here to help YOU.  That is my #1 job.  In grade school, I felt like the librarians were mostly inaccessible.  It was not until I got to high school and college that I understood how important librarians are, and how they can guide in a way that is non-judgemental and empathetic.  Ask us anything.  We've seen it all. But most importantly, we want to see you! 

I cannot take full credit for this guide.  Martinique Hallerduff organized and added the assets to this guide, and I am grateful! 


  1. Learn about Narrowing Your Topic
  2. Access Library webpage to find background information in order to identify keywords for research
  3. Define scholarly/peer reviewed and primary and secondary sources 
  4. Learn about NoodleTools, offered by the library to organize and cite sources

Class Climate Survey

Your Assignment


ENGLISH 102-C25      Mr. Robert Serb

Due date: First Draft: October 27th, 2021

Final Draft: December 8th, 2021 

  1. Choose any controversial social issue and research it; learning as much information as you can about this topic.  I suggest that you try to find some articles or research material on both (or many) sides on this issue; then take note of facts, statistics, information, or quotes given in those articles relevant to your issue.

  1. After doing your research, choose a side or position on this issue and write an argument, using the facts and information you have collected to support your case.  You may choose to include discussion of the opposing sides in order to refute them, but focus on building a solid argument on your own side, supported by the factual evidence your research produces.  Make this a positive rather than a negative argument; i.e., concentrate on giving reasons why your position is correct, rather than refuting or condemning your opponent’s positions.

  1. Although you should demonstrate that you have done extensive research on the topic I expect an argument, meaning that you focus on proving your side is the correct one, rather than simply presenting or discussing the material raised.  Remember to give reasons why your side is correct; don’t just make statements without supporting them with facts or logical reasoning.  Use examples and information from your research to prove your points.  Avoid making generalizations or any other logical fallacies.  Stylistically, it would be better to make your position clear throughout your paper, rather than presenting your research material and then giving your argument at the end; that makes it seem like you did two different essays and simply tacked the argument essay on at the end.

  1. For the FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR ESSAY: I will be looking for evidence that you have done research and gathered factual information on the issue; you should indicate what position you’re taking on the issue, but not worry about making an argument.  Instead, present your information in a clear, well-organized way, and focus on adding a solid, logical argument for your final draft.  The first draft should be about half (4-5 pages) the length of the final term paper, and should be composed of complete sentences and paragraphs, and not simply be an outline.

  1. Be aware that your essay must include BOTH citations and a bibliography, utilizing the MLA format, to identify exactly where each fact, quote, or piece of information that you reference came from.  I have included a lengthy explanation of citations and bibliographies on D2L, please review and follow it.  DO NOT NEGLECT TO INCLUDE PARENTHETICAL CITATIONS!  In recent years I have had a number of students who included a bibliography of their sources at the end of their essay, but no citations in the body of their essay indicating which source each piece of information came from; those students get a poor grade on their essay!  Even if you have a bunch of sources given in your bibliography, without citations I cannot determine exactly what information came from which source.

Your final papers should be 8-10 pages in length.  Papers should be 12 point font, double-spaced, with 1” margins.  Make sure that you proofread for spelling and grammar; don’t rely on computer spellchecks or grammatik programs.  Computer spellchecks don’t no weather oar knot a word is the wright won four that sentence, if you sea what eye mein.