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ENG 101: Composition I

Select a Topic

Click "Browse Issues" to see topics in Opposing Viewpoints.

Click "Browse Topics" to view issues in CQ Researcher.


Topic ideas:

  • Choose an issue related to your career
  • Write about a subject that affects your family or friends
  • Browse social media or internet news to get ideas

Mind Mapping

  • Mind mapping is a visual way to organize your topic.
  • It can help you take a broad topic and narrow it down to a segment that will fit the scope of your assignment.
  • It's a graphic way to brainstorm content and structure.

Prewriting Techniques

Prewriting, freewriting, and notetaking tips and tricks from the Purdue Owl website.

EVAL-uate it!

Not sure whether you should use that source for your assignment?

EVAL-uate it!

Click the buttons to view details. Click again to hide the text.



The author may be a person, group of people, or an organization. Beware of articles marked "Anonymous". On most websites, author information is found on the top or bottom of the page. If you cannot find author information anywhere, you should not cite this source. Reputable publishers choose the authors they work with carefully so the books and articles you find in library databases are likely to have appropriate credentials.

Usually an author's affiliation is given with articles you find in the databases. If the author of a Web page has provided an “About” page, this can be an excellent source of information about him or her. If the author is associated with an organization, such as a college or business, you can check that organization's website for information on the author.



Ads on a page usually mean that the author of that page is interested in something other than simply presenting information. You should always be cautious in using information from such pages.

A good source will not let bias affect the information contained within it. If you can detect a strong leaning, whether political, religious, or otherwise, you should avoid that source.

The best information allows you as the reader to come to your own conclusions; if you see that the author is trying to convince you of something, and especially if you can spot gaps or misinformation in what is presented, you should avoid using that source.


One of the best ways to check if information is correct is if you can find that same information in other, completely separate sources.

Good scholarship can be identified by “Works Cited” or “Bibliography” sections.


Long is a relative term, but generally speaking, less than 5 pages (articles) or 3 screens (webpages) is too short to present most high-quality information.

Scholarly work rarely relies on images to present information, outside of simple graphs and charts. Photographs usually indicate popular, rather than academic work.


Read about why you should avoid Wikipedia when you are doing academic research.

Watch Stephen Colbert discuss the pitfalls of using Wikipedia.