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College Writing II

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This guide helps you learn the following skills required for producing excellent college writing:

  • develop a topic
  • search the library catalog
  • search databases for full-text articles
  • use Interlibrary Loan
  • judge the quality or bias of what you read
  • properly attribute sources
  • avoid plagiarism.

Getting Started

Deciding on a topic is possibly the most difficult part of doing research. If you're not sure how to start, talk with your professor, ask a librarian, or:

  • Think about a topic that you are interested in.
  • Do some background reading from a textbook or subject encyclopedia.

Generally, you will want to narrow your topic to something manageable. You may need to rework it several times as you research. It is possible you may need to expand a topic if it is too narrowly focused on a single idea.

  • Once you have an idea, write it out as a short sentence or question then pick out search terms.


Use the sources in the following Research Tools pages to find information.

"How does stress affect memory?"  stress, memory

Guides to Writing from the University of Wisconsin

College Writing and English