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Writing 101: Grassroots Activism

Library research guide for Dr. Pullum's course, Spring 2016

Research & Instructional Services Librarian

Andrea Spain
Perkins Library
Email me:
Call me: 919-660-6934

Using This Guide

This research guide provides links to resources that might help you with your research paper. If you have questions or want to meet up for a more in-depth consultation, please contact me at, or use the "Schedule Appointment" link in my box on the left.

First Thing to Know - There is no "Perfect Source"

This short video explains that when you start your research, you need to remember that there probably isn't going to be a perfect source that directly addresses all parts of your topic. However, that doesn't mean you won't be able to find what you need! You may just need to adjust your search strategy.

Background Research - Encyclopedias

Defining your topic or thesis for your research paper isn’t as easy as it sounds. Unless you are already an expert in the area, you will probably need to do some background research first.

Start by reading up on your topic in places like an encyclopedia, which will give you an overview of the subject and provide some context on key themes or issues. Most encyclopedia entries also have bibliographies, which can point you toward other sources.

You can even use Google to look up your topic to find out more about it.  This type of research might not actually be used in your paper, and that is okay! Background research is important for helping you define your topic and thesis.