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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 "Find a subject guide" (right column under Quick Links)
  3. Click on "English as an Additional Language"
  4. Click on "Courses" (right column)
  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

Video Guides (Fall 2020)

  1. Guidelines for Evaluating Sources of Information (4:55)
  2. Scholarly Sources (4:42)
    • Example #1. Self-reported food skills of university students (5:02)
    • Example #2.  Are You Starting Your Day With Hidden Sugar (3:21)
  3. Tools for Searching (2:36) 
  4. Basic Searching in LibrarySearch (8:34)
  5. APA - The Very Basics (5:26)
  6. "Cite It" in LibrarySearch (2:25)
  7. "Cite" in MasterFile (3:03)

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

  1. Locate the library research guide for this class
  2. Identify a quality source
  3. Evaluate example sources in pairs or small groups
  4. Search for sources using the MRU Library Search or Google Scholar


  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 and a friend asked you what was it about?  What would you tell them?

Real or fake?

Try looking up the information at

Using what we learned about what to look for when using websites...which of the following websites on nutrition (eating healthy) would you use in an academic paper?

When writing academically, your are expected to use the best sources available to you.  Generally, this is the often arranged in the following way.  Keep in mind, that scholarly sources are less accessible (from an English language perspective) than non-scholarly sources. 

Scholarly Articles:  Often referred to as academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed 

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

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*

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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Chris Thomas

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