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ENGL 115-56 University Writing

This course guide is created for ENGL 115, section 56, for Fall 2021.

Relevance in the Age of Abundance

Information is everywhere. Fortunately, we have tools and strategies to deal with it.

Internet search with close to 17 million resultsSearching sources online produce one of three scenarios of which only one is good:

  1. Too many results. Try the tools provided to filter out irrelevant results to reveal what is most relevant.
  2. Too few results. Rethink the terms you are using in your search. Try similar or related terms. Reference works like encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauri can help.
  3. You find exactly what you want. Congratulations.

Light bulb onBetter to have a few highly relevant sources than many irrelevant ones.

Think outside the box.

Thought bubble inside Internet box.

Before you search, consider ALL the fundamental requirements of the information you seek. Your objective is to use techniques to help you achieve RELEVANT sources, NOT just ABUNDANT sources.

What is your topic? Are there multiple terms to describe it? Consider your assignment and the topics associated with it. What other highly descriptive terms can you pull together for your search?

Image of the "refine my results" toolbar with three "Articles", "Civil Rights Activists", and "Peer-reviewed Journals" filters applied.

What kinds of sources are required? Check your assignment prompt and use 'Advanced Search' to display specific formats of information such as books, journal articles, videos, etc. You can also apply the filters from the "Refine my results" toolbar. 

Must your sources be peer-reviewed? Look for the term "peer-reviewed" in your results list, OR filter your results to display only articles from peer-reviewed journals.

How recent must your sources be?   Five to ten years is a general window for most sources. Sciences will be shorter. Use the tools available to limit the years for which your source must be published.

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