This is the "Getting Started" page of the "English Language and Literature" guide.
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English Language and Literature  

A guide to resources in English language and literature.
Last Updated: Sep 10, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Getting Started Print Page

BCC Library Hours

Monday-Thursday : 8:30am – 8pm
Friday: 8:30am-4pm
Saturday: 10am-2pm
Sunday: CLOSED


BCC Library Contacts

Circulation Desk:  510-981-2824
Reference Desk:  510-981-2821


Common texts for English majors

Cover Art
They Say - I Say - Cathy Birkenstein; Gerald Graff; Graff
ISBN: 9780393933611
Publication Date: 2009-12-22

Cover Art
A Pocket Style Manual - Diana Hacker; Nancy Sommers
ISBN: 0312542542
Publication Date: 2011-11-24


Tips for starting your research

Understand the assignment

  • What type of assignment is it? Research paper, personal essay, opinion paper, or other?
  • How long does the paper need to be?
  • Do you need to use specific types of sources such as newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals or websites?
  • How many sources do you need?
  • Which citation style are you going to use for your bibliogrpahy? MLA, APA, Chicago or other?

Choose a topic

  • Think about a topic that might interest you, you know something about, or you feel strongly about.
  • Find a topic in your textbook, a class reading or class discussion.
  • Still stumped? Look at today's New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, or Google News and find a story that interests you and do more research.

Develop Keywords

  • Keywords are the terms you use to search for information on your topic.
  • Two or more words (a phrase) should be searched in "quotes" for better results.
  • Try synonyms, related words, and broader terms if your first search doesn't yield the right kind of results.
  • Use AND to limit your search and OR to broaden.



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