ENGL 100 - Expository Writing - Salina Campus

This is a Research Guide to aid K-State Salina students through the major projects and assignments in ENGL 100 - Expository Writing

Library Research Guide

Welcome to Expository Writing

The K-State Salina Library has created this guide to help you navigate research and academic writing resources that will be useful to you during this class and throughout your academic and professional careers.

If you need any assistance, please feel free to contact Dr. Mirtz at K-State Salina (mirtz@ksu.edu).

Quick Links: Academic Search Premier (EBSCO) and ProQuest Research and Search It

Video: Intro to Research (how to get to databases and library info)

Video: ENGL 100 Research Tips (ways to improve your keyword searches and find full-text)

The Game Plan

You can never start too soon to create a research plan for that paper. Work backwards from the final deadline and plan for writing center appointments, peer feedback in class, and questions for your instructor. You can do this!

1. Start with several topic options. Compose your interests as research questions. Develop a "working" research question that can change as you learn more from your research.

If it's broad to begin with, try performing a search on the catalog or a major search engine such as Google to get a feel for current issues that are currently related to that topic. You want the topic to interest you, but you also want to engage with current research and connect to the scholarly conversation that is ongoing in the field.

A research question defines the scope of your topic. Phrase it as a "how" or "why" question. For example, instead of a yes/no question such as "Are there many benefits to having a pet as a college student?", phrase it as "How do pets benefit college students?"

2. Make a list of keywords and phrases. Try various combinations and synonyms.

As you perform some preliminary searches, you will get a sense of the terminology scholars in that field are using in their language. Write down keywords that you can search in different combinations. See more on the Choosing Keywords page.

Research question/interest: Should I, as a college student, get a pet?
Rephrase to a "working" research question: How can a pet thrive with a college student's schedule of school and work?
Include related, relevant questions: What data indicates how much human interaction time a dog needs to thrive?
Keywords: dog psychology, human-animal interaction, human-animal relationships, university, college, achievement, success, animal welfare, pet owners, anxiety, stress, social interaction, animal therapy, play behavior, dog walking

3. Evaluate your sources, and keep a research log.

Find out more on the Evaluate Sources page. A research log helps you manage complex searches and work efficiently without having to backtrack.

4. Create a scratch outline, and write "chunks" to get started. Try out rhetorical structures that might work with your question. Continue refining your research and finding sources.

Your research question might be best answered as a narrative, a problem-solution, a classical argument, or other structures.

5. Create a rough draft

Write your first draft, keeping in mind that it might be quite messy as you "wallow in complexity" as Peter Elbow would say. Keep track of your sources and cite them informally as you draft.

6. Revise

Revising can include re-envisioning your research question, moving paragraphs, rewriting for clarity, adding examples and descriptions, creating transitions, and deleting (egads!) material that is no longer relevant.

7. Double-check your sources and citations!

You may have moved and paraphrased ideas as you revised, so check again with the original sources to make sure your source info is accurate and follows APA style.

 Our Advice:

  • Stay organized! Create folders in Google Drive or OneDrive to keep your sources in one place. Most of the library databases will save articles directly to Google Drive and OneDrive. Keep track of the keywords you use and which databases you are searching.
  • Put phrases in quotations marks: "companion animals."
  • Be ready to change and modify your research topic or question as you learn more about the issues!