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Course & Subject Guides

ENGCMP 0450: Research Writing - Oakland Campus

This support guide was created for students in ENGCMP 0450: Research Writing and the Professional Writing Program


This guide is designed to provide you with resources at the University Library System and to support your class research by using PittCat and library databases.

Below are some links to help you navigate the University Library System:

How Do I ...

Find sources for my research?

Starting your research can be tough, but these pages can help you along the way. If you're stuck at any point, talk to a librarian. Librarians can save you time and work by pointing you toward the best source of information for your topic.

Identify scholarly information?

Find an article on a topic?

  • Use PittCat
  • The ULS has access to millions of full-text articles online through the ULS Databases.

Get help with writing and citing sources, including using citation managers?

Focusing Your Topic

Many researchers find this to be one of the toughest parts of research. Often a researcher’s initial topic may be too broad or general. Concept Mapping is a graphic method of “mapping” out a complex topic and its different facets. Think of an image of a wheel with several spokes coming from a central hub. Place your main topic in the hub. Think about the different issues or aspects of your topic, and write one aspect or issue at the end of each spoke. This exercise can help you select which issues or aspects you address within your report.

You can also do some initial research on your topic to understand what issues or challenges are wrapped up in your topic. This initial review of information can help you decide on which direction to take your topic, and also help you select useful search terms.

Mind Mapping Web Applications

Mind mapping can be an excellent way to organize your thoughts on a topic. Use them individually or for group work.

Try a mind map to visually organize your notes.