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UMass Amherst Libraries

College Writing

Find sources for your Unit 3, "Adding to the Conversation" project.


Welcome instructors and students, to your guide to library research supporting College Writing. This guide will provide you with information on not only the utilization of the libraries' resources, but topics that will help you be a better researcher throughout your college career. 

Finding Course Materials on Reserve

Reserves materials for this course can be found by going to the Physical Reserves page, selecting COURSE NAME in the Search For menu, and typing College Writing into the Search box.

Need Help?

Selecting a Research Topic

The most challenging part of starting a research paper can be finding a research topic.  Below are resources to help you begin the process.



Concept Mapping is a way of visually brainstorming research topics and ideas for your paper.  This video outlines the method of concept mapping and how it can be used to pinpoint a research topic of interest.

The Choosing a Topic guide provided by Purdue's Online Writing Lab provides detailed information on how to initally select a topic of focus for a research paper.  This information may also be downloaded and distributed as a handout.

Google Like a Pro

Google is a great way to find resources for your paper, when you use it in the right way! Googling something in your browser's search bar or on the main google page works great for simple and casual searches, but you'll need more precision when you're doing research for a college assignment. For research papers and course projects, you should go to Google's advanced search tools. Find links to these tools, and tips for using them effectively, below:

Searching WorldCat

To find sources for your annotated bibliography, you can also start your search with UMA WorldCat. This resource gives you the ability to search the Five Colleges Catalog and several databases at the same time for books, articles and more. It is especially helpful for writing research papers because it focuses on scholarly books and journal articles. For help getting started with UMA WorldCat, take a look at the Getting Started With UMA WorldCat Tutorial that we've put together for you.  


Searching Syntax: the Basics

"Boolean Search Operatives" is just a fancy way of saying "AND" "OR" "NOT"

Using the guide to the left, try a few searches in a any of the databases recommended above to see how it will change your results.