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English 1101/1102: Get Started

What Are the Project Requirements?

Understand the type of assignment you've been given.  Here are a few types of papers that are common:

  • Exploratory--present information on a topic
  • Argumentative--discuss two or more sides to an issue, persuading the audience that a position/opinion has more evidence to support it
  • Compare/Contrast--explore the differences and similarities of two issues or things that have a common purpose
  • Explication--explain / interpret a creative work, such as poetry, paintings, stories, etc.
  • Critique/Analysis--analyze the effect/value of a project

Choose a topic. 

Choose the type of resources you need based on the topic.

  • Basic facts, overview--reference works, including encyclopedias.  Some websites
  • Interviews, opinions--newspaper articles.  Some websites.
  • In-depth, historical--books. 
  • Research and analysis--journal articles.

What Makes a Good Topic?

  • You can find what others have written on it/against it and can use this to support your argument. 
  • You can discuss a new or different aspect of it.  Ask How? Why? What? Where? When? questions
  • It is focused enough to match the scale of your assignment
  • It can be modified based on the information that you find
  • It is interesting to you!

Not focused enough: 

  • Pollution
  • Global Warming
  • Gun rights


  • How does pesticide use in agriculture impact soil and groundwater pollution?
  • How have ideas of global warming affected popular movies?  (If this is unproductive, change global warming to natural disasters)
  • Three good reasons why fourteen-year olds should be able to use guns.


Need Ideas?

  • Review chapters in your textbook
  • Browse magazines & newspapers for topics of interest
  • Reflect on issues in your intended profession, career or discipline
  • Expand on a topic discussed in class
  • Talk with your advisor/instructor
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