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College Writing: Ampersand Ireland

Step-by-step tips for your paper

Step 1: Your topic you have identified this in your prospectus

Step 2: Break it out conceptually – what are the major threads in your question; what is essential

Step 3: Background research - be sure to understand your concepts;  look at the reference resources page at for help

Step 4: Get a citation manager, with it you can:

  • Keep your citation organized
  • Take notes for you annotations
  • Quickly produce the bibliography in MLA – you will need to paste in your annotations

Step 5:  Use your background research to generate terms

Step 6: Play with you terms in keyword searches: see the Find Articles page in this guide or try Quick Search from Libraries homepage or Google Scholar)

Step 7: Determine if it’s a good hit

  • Where did it come from? Scholarly Journal?
  • Did a person author it?
  • Does it have a bibliography?
  • Is it more than five pages?

Step 8: Use good hits to build further

  • Use the bibliography
  • Use the subject terms
  • Use the abstract