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ENG W509: Introduction to Writing and Literacy Studies

This guide was created in connection with a library instruction session in fall 2015. Please contact the librarian if you have questions.

Background Information & Books

Before you can start any research on your topic, you must have a background knowledge of it. Books and websites can provide you with that knowledge.

This is important because:

  1. Background sources give you the language that people are using to discuss your topic. You will use this language when you start to search databases for scholarly articles and resources on the topic.
  2. This "pre-research" gives you a sense if your topic is focused enough. If your initial searches bring back so many results you can't even figure out what the language is, then you should consider narrowing your topic.

Remember, background information is always a starting point for research, not an ending point.

Finding and using online sources

Using the internet for research is something we all do. It's your responsibility as a scholar to evaluate the information you find to be sure that it is credible and authoritative. Use the 'Evaluating Resources' page for guidance on how to choose appropriate sources or contact your instructor or librarian.

The links below are specific to the field of Composition/Writing.

The following links are for literature resources online: