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LEAP 4 Argumentative Essay

How to find your LEAP 4 argumentative essay assignment guide:

  1. Go to the library home page (
  2. Click on "Subject Guides" --> "Browse All" -->  "Subject Guides & Specialists"
  3. Click on "Guide" below "EAL"
  4. Click on "Courses"
  5. Click on LEAP 4 Research Essay

From your assignment instructions:

  1. minimum of three references
    • at least one must be a peer-reviewed scholarly article
  2. a maximum of six references
  3. APA reference page

By the end of this class you will be able to:

  1. Locate the library research guide for this class
  2. Define peer-review
  3. Identify scholarly articles
  4. Search for sources using the MRU Library Search or Google Scholar

Four steps to choosing your topic and research question

  1. Choose a more general question or topic
  2. Do some background research to find out a bit more and see how others have discussed that topic.
  3. Develop some more focused questions that you might want to focus on
  4. Further define your topic - avoid being too broad (or you will never be able to cover it all) or too narrow (you may not find enough information)
  5. Not sure if your topic is too broad or too narrow? You might have to do a bit more searching and reading to find out. 

Some ways to narrow a topic:

  • Place (geography, location, setting, etc.)

  • Population (Age, demographic, etc.)

  • Timeframe (year, decade, etc.)

  • Relevant issue or challenge (eg. difficulty finding work, learning disability, etc.)

How does online learning via video conferencing affect elementary students’ social development in the classroom?

  1. Online learning
    • Remote learning / distance learning
  2. Video conferencing: 
    • Zoom / Virtual classrooms
  3. Elementary students: 
    • K-6 / K-12, Grade school
  4. Social development
    • Social connections / Making friends / Social bonding / Social skills
  5. Classroom
    • Physical classes / Virtual classroom / Campus / School


  1. Quality refers to how trustworthy and reputable your source is.
    1. Purpose: Consider the purpose of the source.  Why did the authors write it and how do you know that?
      1. Is it fact or opinion?  Is there bias?  (Does the source favour one thing over another in an unfair way (sometimes referred to as one-sided)?
    2. Audience:  Consider the audience of the source.  Who did the authors write it for and how do you know that?
    3. Authority: Consider who wrote the source and who is responsible for the source.  Are the authors experts on the topic and how do you know that?  Who is responsible for this information - a company, a government, a university, personal?  How do you know that?
    4. Currency: Consider when the source was published or written.  How recently was it written and how do you know that?
    5. Reliability: Consider the information from the source.  Does your source provide details about where they got their information - such as references?
    6. Relevance: What does it have to do with my topic?


  1. Accessibility refers to your ability to understand and summarize the ideas presented in your source.
    • For example, can you tell a classmate what your source is about without reading?  Think about a movie you've recently seen.  If a friend asked you what it's about, what would you tell them?

Real or fake?

Try looking up the information at

Academic Publications

  • Often referred to as academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed 
  • Written by experts in a particular field
  • Keep others interested in that field up to date on the most recent research and findings. 

What is peer-review?

  • When a source has been peer-reviewed it has undergone the review and scrutiny of a review board of colleagues in the author's field.  They evaluate this source as part of the body of research for a particular discipline and make recommendations regarding its publication in a journal, revisions prior to publication, or, in some cases, reject its publication.

General Characteristics

  1. Author: Expert in the field
  2. Review: Reviewed by other experts (peers)
  3. Audience / Language: Written for scholars and students; uses academic language
  4. Content: Original research and criticism; uses previous research literature for background
  5. Citations: Always


  1. Peer-reviewed articles
  2. Scholarly books (can be challenging to identify)
  3. Literature reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis
  4. Thesis and dissertations

How to Save this File to Google Drive:

  1. Open Google Drive - you can get here through MyMRU or you can also access through your own personal gmail
  2. Right-click on My Drive
  3. Choose Upload a File (find your file on the computer)

Less is more: Start with one or two words and then add one additional term at a time

  • education
  • education university

Search phrases: Use "quotation marks" around key ideas made up of multiple words

  • "post-secondary education"
  • very useful when you have a specific phrase containing common words

Search different spellings: Use an asterisk * to find different endings to your keywords

  • colleg* = college, colleges, collegiate
  • smok* = smoke, smoking, smokes, smoked, smokers

Use limits: These refine (narrow) your search using different restrictions

  • Date (last 10 years)
  • Peer-reviewed (for articles)

You can combine all the above in your search:

  • "post-secondary education" alberta advantag*

Using LibrarySearch

  1. Type of source
    • Book, article, video
  2. Search filters
    • Use the "padlock" to lock your filters
  3. Description
    • Often a summary or table of contents
  4. Access Options
    • Physical location
    • Online access
    • Request a copy
  5. Tools
    • Citation
    • Permalink

Why do we cite and reference sources?

  1. Citing helps your reader know that you're not making things up
  2. Citing makes you a more reputable source of information
  3. "Common knowledge" is not always accepted by the scientific community. Confirm common knowledge and cite your source
  4. Paraphrasing and summarizing demonstrates that you understand the material

How do I start referencing?  Use the "cite" option, found in many search tools, to put your source into APA format. 

What if there is no "cite" option?  Use the MRU citation guide (and ask for help at the service desk)

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Erik Christiansen

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Office: EL4423C