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ENGLISH 105-0: Expository Writing for Multilingual Students (Del Torto)

First Assignment: Finding an article in a journal

Browse or keyword search within the journals below to find an article of interest for your first assignment.

You can also search for an article within Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA) , MLA International Bibliography, or other databases listed on the Articles & Databases tab of this guide.

1 = indexed in the MLA International Bibliography
2 = indexed in Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA)
* = indexed in Web of Science and Scopus

Example of a search within a specific journal, College Composition and Communication, on the keyword bilingual.  

Gather background info / Focus your topic

Somewhere in between your initial idea and settling on a research question, you may need to do background research on how scholars in a particular subject area have discussed your topic. You may find background research in your textbook or class readings, academic books in the library's collection, or encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks.

The databases below compile encyclopedia sources from a variety of disciplines, and they can be a great way to consider how your topic has been studied from different angles.

Use NUSearch to browse for books, reference entries, and periodicals to build background information.


After you have an initial project idea, you can think deeper about the idea by developing a "Topic + Question + Significance" sentence. This formula came from Kate Turabian's Student's Guide to Writing College Papers. Turabian notes that you can use it plan and test your question, but do not incorporate this sentence directly into your paper (p. 13):

TOPIC: I am working on the topic of __________,
QUESTION: because I want to find out __________,
SIGNIFICANCE: so that I can help others understand __________.

Turabian, Kate L. Student's Guide to Writing College Papers. 4th edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2010.

Remember: the shorter your final paper, the narrower your topic needs to be. Having trouble?

  • Which specific subset of the topic you can focus on? Specific demographic groups, people, places, times
  • Is there something about this topic that is not already addressed in scholarship?
  • Is there a relationship you can explore:
    • cause/effect
    • compare/contrast
    • current/historical
    • group/individual
    • opinion/reason
    • problem/solution


How do you move from a topic or a research question to searching in a database? You first have to pick out keywords from your research question.