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Technical Writing Essentials Research Guide (ENG 355:202)

Visit this research guide for articles, websites, and other resources for your Technical Writing Essentials class.

Ask Yourself:

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

Does this topic meet the requirements of my project?


Select a topic you find interesting. If you find a topic compelling, the research and writing process may be more satisfying for you.

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.

More Resources for Topic Ideas

Social Trends 

Pew Research Center


New York Times political coverage

Create your free NYT subscription account by clicking the link in the library website:

Science Developments

Science Daily

Technology Developments

Popular Mechanics

International News


Interesting and Unusual Research Ideas


Local Issues

Daily Targum

Rutgers Today

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Sherri Farber
Alexander Library
Rutgers-New Brunswick
Information Literacy Instruction Librarian
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Research can be seen as a series of linked activities moving from a beginning to an end. It usually begins with the identification of a problem followed by formulation of research questions or objectives. The researcher determines what information to collect and how it will be analyzed in order to answer the research question.


Described in this way the research process seems linear, yet research is often an iterative (repeating) process. Decisions made early in the research process are often revisited in the light of new insights or practical problems encountered along the way.

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.

Acquire Basic Knowledge and 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?

The following resources are useful  to identify topics, overviews, background information, concepts, theories, ideas, and key references:

Course Textbook:

Magrino, W. (2021). Scientific and technical writing: From problem to proposal. Kendall Hunt.




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