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EGL 102 - Robert Serb - Spring 2020: Getting Started

Library Research Workshop Learning Objectives

Library Research Workshop Learning Objectives:

  1. Access Oakton Library webpages from the Oakton Community College website.
  2. Practice navigation of the Oakton Library online resources.
  3. Practice search strategies for Oakton Library online resources including selecting a citation style and emailing an article with the selected citation style to yourself.



ENGLISH 102-750

Mr. Robert Serb

Due date:First Draft:April 13th, 2020

Final Draft: May 4th, 2020

  1. Choose any controversial social topic in which you are interested and research it; learning as much information as you can about this topic.  I suggest that you try to find some material on both (or many) sides on this issue; take note of information or quotes that could be used in writing your paper and keep track of the author, article/book title, and publication info of your material so you can properly cite it.  (You will need to present citations and bibliography of your research using the MLA format, which we will cover in class.)


  1. After doing your research, choose a side or position on this topic and write an argument, using the research material you have collected to support your position.  You should argue that your side or position is the correct one.  You may choose to include discussion of the opposing sides in order to refute them, but focus on building up your own side.  You should make this a positive rather than a negative argument; i.e., concentrate on giving reasons why your position is correct, rather than refuting your opponents.


  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 discussing the material raised.  Remember to give reasons why your side is correct; don’t just make statements without backing them up. Wherever possible, use specific 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 papers and simply tacked the argument on at the end.


  1. For the First Draft I will be looking for evidence that you have done some research and gathered information on the topic; you should indicate what position you’re taking on the issue, but not worry about making an airtight logical argument.  Instead, present your info in a clear, well-organized way, and focus on constructing a solid argument for your final draft.  The first draft should be about half (4-5 pages) the length of the final term paper.


  1. Your papers should be 8-10 pages in length.  Papers should be typed, single-sided, and 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 mean.


  1. After your paper has been turned in, you’ll be asked to give a brief (5-7 minutes) oral report to the class on the results of your research, so keep a copy of your paper or whatever notes you may need to give such a report.

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Choose Your Topic Workshop Step-by-Step Handout

“Choose a Topic” Handout for Robert Serb EGL 102 Term Paper Assignment

Introduction: During this “Choose a Topic” workshop we will

  • Explore four different types of information resources to find a controversial topic.
  • Use Mind Maps and library resource features to narrow a topic.

  • Note “Schedule Research Consultation Skokie/RHC Library” tab
  • Note “Need more help?” tab


Course Guide: Getting Started – Your assignment & “Choose a Topic” handout

Source #1. Credo Academic Core - DEMONSTRATION

Credo Academic Core steps

  1. Browse Topic Pages in Credo
    1. Select Homelessness
  2. Discuss Credo Mind Map
    1. Demonstrate mind mapping for "Homelessness"
  3. Narrow Your Topic with Background Information
    1. view Topic Page for "Homelessness"
    2. view Credo Mind Map and note search terms for "Homelessness"
  4. scan “Homelessness” main article
    1. note "Cite Article" icon at top of article
    2. note “Email” icon
    3. note “Listen” app
    4. note headings for concepts
    5. show MLA citation at end of article
  5. view Related Articles and click on "See more from Credo"
    1. review Titles - Note "Debate" and "Controversial Issues" titles

PRACTICE SEARCH: Source #1. Credo Academic Core

DIY: follow steps to choose a Credo Topic

  1. Choose a topic from the Browse Topic Pages list.
  2. View Mind Map
  3. View Topic Page
  4. Expand main article on topic page
  5. Click on “ quotation marks icon at top of article
  6. Click on Envelope icon to mail a copy of the article with citation to yourself.


Source #2. CQ Researcher – DEMONSTRATION

CQ Researcher steps

  1. Browse reports - Issues Tracker
    1. Example: Housing
  2. Choose "Homeless Students"
    1. Review sections of a CQ Researcher report
      1. FULL REPORT
      2. Introduction
      3. Overview
      4. Background
      5. Current Situation
      6. Outlook
      7. Pro/Con
      8. Chronology
      9. Short Features
      10. Maps/Graphs
      11. Bibliography
      12. The Next Step
      13. Contacts
      14. Footnotes
      15. About the Author
    2. View "Overview" and section heading questions
      1. note headings for concepts
    3. Click on MLA citation at "Cite Now" icon at top of article
    4. Click on Email to send a copy of the report and citation to yourself.
  3. Bypass “Issues Tracker” and search across reports for any topic.

PRACTICE SEARCH - Source #2. CQ Researcher

DIY: follow steps to email a CQ Researcher report

  1. Browse reports - Issues Tracker
  2. Choose a report
  3. Click on Overview
  4. Click on MLA citation at "Cite Now" icon at top of article
  5. Click on Email to send a copy of the report and citation to yourself.
  • Do-able by narrowing topic

Source #3. Opposing Viewpoints - DEMONSTRATION

Opposing Viewpoints steps

  1. Browse Issues
  2. Click on "Homelessness"
  3. Review sections of an Opposing Viewpoints Issue:
    1. On This Page
    2. Featured Viewpoints
    3. Academic Journals
    4. Viewpoints
    5. Reference
    6. Images
    7. Videos
    8. Audio
    9. News
    10. Magazines
    11. Statistics
    12. Websites
    13. Related Topics
  4. Click on "Featured Viewpoints"

a. Click on “Citation Tools” to see the MLA citation

b. Click on Email to send a copy of the article and citation to yourself.

PRACTICE SEARCH - Source #3. Opposing Viewpoints

DIY: follow steps to email an Opposing Viewpoints article

  1. Browse Issues
  2. Choose an Issue
  3. Click on "Featured Viewpoints"  
  4. Click on “Citation Tools” to see the MLA citation
  5. Click on Email to send a copy of the report and citation to yourself.

Review: During this workshop we have

  • Explored four sources to find a controversial topic.
  • Used Mind Maps and resource features to narrow a topic to write an Inquiry Content that provides:

Mind Map Your Topic: What do you already know? Ask questions to narrow your topic.  Use the attached Mind Map Blank Handwritten form:

  • Who is affected or involved?
  • Where does this happen?
  • What is involved? What is happening or has happened?
  • When did the issue start?
  • Why is this issue important to you?
  • How do you know that this topic is an arguable issue?