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ENGL 1101 - Winter 2022


To get started today, log into a classroom computer and open the MRU Library  website   (username: rllcguest   pswd: wahbanfol8)

How to find the ENGL 1101 course guide:

  1. Go to the library home page (
  2. Click on "Research Support" (on the menu bar)
  3. Click "Subject Guides & Specialists"
  4. Look for English and click "Guide"
  5. Look for "courses" (on the menu) bar and select "ENGL 1101 Harrison (BCHS)"

Find a Copy of your assignment

What do you want to learn today


  1. Objectives
  2. What information do I need to know for this assignment?
  3. Refining your essay topic
  4. How do I find information for my topic?


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

  1. Find the ENGL 1101 library course guide for this class
  2. Apply different strategies to refine an essay topic
  3. Define "peer review" process as it relates to scholarly articles
  4. Identify key characteristics of scholarly articles
  5. Observe a demonstration of LibrarySearch to find scholarly sources
  6. Use at least one search tool to find scholarly articles
  7. Use at least two different search strategies to find scholarly articles

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)

Thinking About Your Topic

  1. Brainstorm / Brainstorm / More brainstorming
    1. Sample Topic: video gaming
  2. Revising Your Question
    1. What are the most common treatments for adolescents with video game addictions?
      • Video games, gaming, Adolescents, addiction, treatment
    2. How effective is cognitive behaviour therapy for treating adolescents with online video game addictions?
      • Online gaming, internet gaming, MMO/MMOG
      • Adolescents 
      • Addiction
      • Cognitive behaviour therapy/CBT

Other Suggestions:

  • Open to research
  • Reasonable and possible to research: Do angels exist? vs Why do people believe in angels? 
  • Has a clear focus: Classroom management vs What are some evidence-based classroom management strategies for students with ADHD?
  • Is open to exploration with many possible answers
  • Doesn't make assumptions or is not a leading question: Why do we only use 10% of our brains? vs What are some effective brain-based learning strategies?
  • Clear- you've defined all of the terms in your question
  • Triggers new questions

Start with a preliminary search. Consider news sources, encyclopedia articles or magazine articles to determine your interests. Revise your question and your search strategy.

Activity #1: Differences between scholarly and non-scholarly sources.

Sort the characteristics into either scholarly or non-scholarly


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?
    • 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)?
    • Consider the audience of the source.  Who did the authors write it for and how do you know that?
  2. 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?
  3. Currency: Consider when the source was published or written.  How recently was it written and how do you know that?
  4. Reliability: Consider the information from the source.  Does your source provide details about where they got their information - such as references?
  5. Relevance: What does it have to do with my topic?

Scholarly Articles

  • 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

Strengths: short, contains background information on a topic, normally a great starting point when you are just learning about a topic
Weaknesses: too short, print encyclopedias are out of date quickly, Wikipedia has reliability issues

Books and Book Chapters
Strengths: Provides an in-depth investigation into a topic
Weaknesses: too long, sometimes hard to tell whether it is scholarly

Scholarly Journal Articles
Strengths: often based on research findings or extensive review, written by experts, reviewed by experts, provides evidence
Weaknesses: Sometimes written using discipline-specific language or terminology, hard to understand,

Media Sources (news, online magazine articles)
Strengths: Good for current information
Weaknesses: Sometimes biased, sometimes written to entertain, often not written by experts

Websites & Social Media
Strengths: Highly accessible, includes government info
Weaknesses: It is hard to assess credibility and reliability...anyone can post online or create a website

What are the best tools for the information that I need?

General Search Tools

  • These search multiple disciplines.  Not as strong for finding discipline-specific topics (ie.  stress - psychology or stress - engineering)
  • Examples include: LibrarySearch, Academic Search Complete, Google Scholar

Subject Specific Search Tools (Use the subject guides to help identify these)

  • These tools are focused on a specific discipline, such as psychology, economics, biology, etc.  Use the subject guides to help choose a subject specific search tool

Background / Reference Search Tools (Use the subject guides to help identify these)

  • Useful for finding background information on your topic, finding key people, understanding key concepts and locating other readings.  Includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.

Selected Databases

General Searching Tips:

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

  • suffrage
  • suffrage Canada

Phrase searching: Use "quotation marks" around key ideas made up of multiple words

  • "suffrage movement"
  • very useful when you have a specific phrase containing common words

Truncation: Use an asterisk * to find different endings to your keywords

  • suffrage* = suffrage, suffrages, suffragette
  • canad* = canada, canadian, canadians

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:

  • Canada* "suffrage movement" parliament

Tips for Reading Scholarly Articles*

Check for relevance – is the article useful for what you’re doing? You will likely never find the perfect article that’s exactly on the topic you have in mind – but you will find ones that are close and useful because:

  • They provide background or context
  • They provide theories that help you examine/understand a new situation
  • They look at a similar group of people
  • They look at similar situations
  • They use methods that you could use to answer similar questions
  • They apply techniques that could be useful in your situation
  • They have useful bibliographies that direct you to even better materials

Print out the article –studies show that reading in print is better for comprehension and retention.

Skim to get the general idea – review introduction, headings, conclusion to see if the article will suit your needs

Get comfortable and carve out a little time – reading for depth takes focus and practice, and you’ll probably have to read the article more than once

Read with a pen in your hand – mark up interesting points, points, odd words, circle key concepts

Read the article by having a dialogue with the author – “really?” “prove it!” “are you sure about that?”- constantly question the author(s)

Practice slow reading – mostly we don’t read, we skim - summarize paragraphs as you go, read the article aloud to slow down

Note unfamiliar words and concepts – look them up on your second read through

Make connections as you go – note what the article reminds you of, what thoughts it provokes, how it matches or contradicts your experience – these connections are critical to your understanding of texts.

Draw things out –stats, tables, connections or relationships can make more sense if you diagram them

Consider approaches and limitations– if you started with the same question(s) as the author – how would you approach finding the answers?  What’s missing from the article – what questions does it leave you with?

Discuss the article with others – students identified this as a very useful strategy for getting the most from articles

*Adapted by Madelaine Vanderwerff from handouts by J. M Loyer &M. MacMillan


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