Skip to Main Content

English Comp Essentials: Research Paper Basics

Research Skills Videos

The following videos explain some of the skills you will use in your research paper. They cover choosing a topic and developing a research question, choosing keywords, finding relevant sources, and evaluating sources for credibility.

1. Choosing a Topic & Developing a Research Question

⇒ Watch this video from North Carolina State University Libraries to learn about picking topics and conducting background research.


2. Choosing Keywords

⇒ Watch this video from McMaster University Library to learn about choosing keywords.

3. Finding Relevant Sources

⇒ Watch this video from North Carolina State University Libraries to learn about finding sources.

4. Evaluating Sources

⇒ Watch this video from North Carolina State University Libraries to learn about evaluating sources.

Ask a Librarian

JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

Suggested Databases & Other Tools

Below are some recommended databases and other resources that tend to be helpful for English Composition assignments. Every assignment is different, so if you're not finding what you need, ask a librarian for recommendations.

Databases for Background Research

Databases for Scholarly Sources

Multidisciplinary databases usually have good coverage for a lot of topics, making them smart places to search. If you need to use peer reviewed sources, look for the "peer reviewed" or "scholarly" limiters that most of these databases include.

Learn about the peer review process in this video from the University of Houston Libraries.

Databases for Popular or Media Sources

Newspapers, magazines, and similar sources are not considered scholarly, but can provide context and timely examples for your arguments.

Primary Sources

Primary sources are original records created during a time under study. They offer a first-hand view of a particular event.

Examples include letters, newspapers, interviews, photographs, manuscripts, memoirs, speeches, diaries, news film footage, autobiographies, official records, personal narratives, creative works (poetry, drama, novels, music, art), anecdotes, correspondence, pamphlets, and case studies.

Citing Sources & Writing Help

Reference & Instruction Department

Reference & Instruction Department
Fordham University Libraries


Walsh Library  ♦  Rose Hill Campus  ♦  718-817-3586   
Quinn Library  ♦  Lincoln Center Campus  ♦  212-636-6050   
Fordham Westchester Library  ♦  Fordham Westchester Campus  ♦  914-367-3061 

library@fordham.edu   ♦   text 71-TXTX-1284 ♦ 
Ask a Librarian (Chat)