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WR 122 - English Composition II

A guide for WR122. Also check to see if there is a guide for your particular instructor.

RCC offers many sections of required writing courses. The information on this guide applies to the assignments and instructions typically given in this course, but always read your assignment carefully and follow your instructor's directions, as they have the discretion to make changes. Also check the guide list to see if there is a guide specific to your instructor

Where to start when you don't know where to start

Writing a college-level research paper requires you come up with a thesis statement and to read, understand, and synthesize sources that are written for subject experts. In order to do this effectively you will need to also do some background research or "pre-search" on your topic. This is where more superficial sources that you are generally not allowed to use as sources for your final paper can be useful. Read through related entries on Wikipedia and look at the sources cited there. Browse through some of the top Google results that are often from sources like WebMD, Mayo Clinic, or popular magazines like The Atlantic, National Geographic, or WIRED. Check associations dedicated to particular health concerns like the NAMI: National Alliance for Mental Health.

Once you have done some reading about the big picture concerns and controversies surrounding your area of interest you will be ready to begin your in-depth research. Crafting your thesis is a process that begins with this background research and continues as you learn from your scholarly sources found using the sources and methods described in the next section below.

Finding Books and Articles

Find your requirements for the types of sources you are expected to analyze and synthesize to construct your papers. Sources should always be credible. Often you are also asked to use sources that are scholarly and/or peer reviewed, which are similar but not synonymous terms. The library purchases books (both print and online) and full-text article databases you can use to to meet these requirements. Start here and check the virtual reference desk for help if you are not finding what you need.

Citing Sources

In general WR122 courses ask you to use the guidelines described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, usually referred to as "APA Style." Check your course information to verify what elements of APA you are being asked to use, as the term can refer to the formatting of your paper and/or your citations.