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Business Writing Essentials/Technical Writing Essentials (01:355:203) (01:355:202): Getting Started

This guide contains resources for doing research in ENG 203/202.

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Ask Yourself:

Is this a topic I have always wanted to know more about?

Does this topic meet the requirements of my project?

Tips
1. Select a topic you find interesting. If you find a topic compelling, the research and writing process will be more satisfying for you. Your passion (or lack thereof) will be evident in your paper and affect the reader's (or grader's) response, as well.
2.
Avoid topics that are too broad or too narrow. If you pick a problem that is too general, you won't be able to adequately cover it in a few pages. If you select a problem that is too narrow, you may have trouble finding helpful sources.

Information Literacy Librarian

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Why Spend Time on Background Information?

Background information serves many purposes:

* If you are unfamiliar with the topic, it provides a good overview of the subject matter.

* It helps you to identify important facts related to your topic such as terminology, dates, events, history, and relevant names or organizations.

* It can help you refine your topic.

* Background research might lead you to bibliographies that you can use to find additional sources of information.

Become Knowledgeable

Develop basic knowledge about the topic you have chosen. Consider:

What terms do you need to know to better understand this issue?

Who is affected by issue?

What are the main controversies associated with the issue?

Who are the key figures and organizations surrounding this issue?

What significant events have occurred related to this issue?

Background Information Resources

The following sources are useful  to identify topics, overviews, background information, concepts, theories, ideas, and key references:
Access World News

  • Covers newspapers and news wires across the world.

CQ Researcher

  • Full-text, weekly topical reports.
  • Focuses on topics considered newsworthy or issues of broad interest to the general public.

Factiva

  • Covers newspapers; magazines; trade journals; newsletters; and television and radio transcripts focusing on business.

Gale Virtual Reference Library

  • Includes topical overviews; essays; book chapters; primary documents; specialized encyclopedia articles; and other sources. 

Sage eReference Encyclopedias

  • Includes specialized encyclopedia articles written by experts in the respective topical areas.
  • Good source for background information; overviews; references; terms; and ideas for topics.

Subject Encyclopedias

  • Access one of many subject encyclopedias available through Rutgers University Libraries.

More Sources for Topic Ideas

Other sources:
* Social trends  - Pew Research Center
* Politics - New York Times political coverage

Create your free NYT subscription account by clicking the link in the library website: https://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/indexes/nyt-digital

* Science developments - Science Daily
* Technology developments - Popular Mechanics
* International news -BBC
* Interesting and unusual research ideas - JSTOR Daily
* Local issues - Daily Targum; Rutgers Today; or NJ.com

The Latest PEW Reports (RSS Feed)

Scan for topic ideas or find background information in PEW Research Reports.

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