English 101

English databases, resources and research help.

English 101

The video "Why should I use the library databases instead of the internet?" is by Brigham Young University Library 

Why should I use a library database instead of the internet? Answer:

Use the chart below to quickly compare library databases to the World Wide Web.

Library Databases

The Internet

Paid for by the library so you have free access to scholarly information

Some resources are free, but others require you to pay for them

Content is evaluated for authority and accuracy

Information is not evaluated for accuracy and may be incorrect, misleading or biased

Information is stable.

Websites come and go

Use Subject Guides to find databases relating specifically to your topic

The internet is a vast sea of information with no organization

Library databases offer options to quickly limit or expand your search to find the articles you need

A search engine (like Google) often returns an overwhelming number of results with no quick way to narrow them down or ensure they relate to your topic

In short, you should use library databases to quickly find relevant scholarly information you can use in research papers or other course projects.

When You Need a Research Topic

Courtesy Gale Cengage Learning

This tutorial highlights some quick techniques for developing a research topic with the help of your Gale In Context resources.

Using Gale's Opposing Viewpoints in Context - Basics

Courtesy Gale Cengage Learning 

Searching EBSCO eBooks - Tutorial

With 151,126 titles to choose from, EBSCO eBooks is an excellent choice for research. The easy-to-use platform allows users to cite, save, and print e-book portions, export citations, search within chapters, and share. The tutorial below demonstrates the searching functionality for EBSCO eBooks and how to read eBooks online.

Courtesy EBSCO Support 


Picking Your Topic IS Research!

When you pick your topic, it's not set in stone. Picking and adjusting your topic is an integral part of the research process!

How to Narrow your Topic

Sometimes, when you start researching, you don't know exactly what you're looking for. That's okay! You can start with a broad topic and narrow it to something more specific for your research project. This short tutorial by the Library Services team from Minnesota State University, Mankato, offers a quick overview of how to narrow a topic when researching. The video offers a few examples of how to find subtopics, including limiting sources and focusing on different aspects of a topic.

Developing a Thesis Statement

Now that you've learned about your topic through background research and developed your topic into a research question, you can formulate a solid thesis statement. The thesis statement can be looked at as the answer to your research question. It guides the focus of your research and the direction of your arguments, and also prevents any unnecessary tangents within your project. A strong thesis statement will always make it easier to maintain a clear direction while conducting your information search.

Thesis statements are one sentence long and are focused, clear, declarative, and written in third person voice. Read the sections below for more information and view examples.


Focus on a single position or point of view in your thesis statement. You cannot effectively address multiple perspectives within a single paper, as you want to make coherent points to support your position.

Weak Thesis:
Underfunded arts programs, underpaid teachers, and standardized testing are all factors in underachieving students in public schools.

Stronger Thesis:
The emphasis on standardized testing is a critical factor in the
underperformance of public school students.


Present your argument or position clearly and precisely. A clear thesis statement will avoid generalizations and make your position known.

Weak Thesis:
The lack of funding in public schools is a major issue in the American education system.

Stronger Thesis:
Underfunding arts programs in public schools does not adequately prepare students for college.


Present your position or point of view as a statement or declarative sentence. Your research question helped guide your initial searching so you could learn more about your topic. Now that you have completed that step, you can extract a thesis statement based on the research you have discovered.

Weak Thesis:

Does car exhaust impact climate change?

Stronger Thesis:

Car exhaust is a leading contributor to climate change.

Third Person:

Write your thesis statement in third person voice. Rather than addressing "I," "we," "you," "my," or "our" in your thesis, look at the larger issues that affect a greater number of participants. Think in terms like "citizens," "students," "artists," "teachers," "researchers," etc.

Weak Thesis:

I think using your cell phone while driving is the leading cause of traffic deaths for people in my age group.

Stronger Thesis:

Cell phone use is the leading cause of traffic deaths in teenagers.

Formatting Your MLA Paper

Formatting Your Works Cited Page