Note: Be sure to use the Fall 2017/Spring 2018 edition of the Library Research Workbook (with the GREEN cover) for this semester. All other editions are out-of-date and should not be used. If you use another edition, your answers will be wrong!

Keep your browser open to this page while you are reading the Workbook. It has both required and recommended materials in different media to help you understand the research process and how to write a good paper.

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Recommended sources are available for a complete overview of the research process. Use some of these for a more in-depth approach to doing your research paper. Make sure to use the edition of MLA required by your instructor.

BOOKS: these are available at the Reserve Desk and/or Reference Area of the Cuesta Library, and have many good examples and explanations for each research area.

  • Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers. A Pocket Style Manual, 6th ed. 2012
  • Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers. Rules for Writers 7th ed., 2012. A longer and more complete version of the Pocket Style Manual
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. 2009
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed. 2016

Video IconRecommended Videos

The Purdue OWL YouTube channel:

Link icon Recommended Websites

Purdue OWL Writing Lab: Home page of the Purdue OWL. Many pages of help under General Writing and Research and Citation.

 Introduction: About the Workbook

Link icon Recommended Websites

CORE Information Literacy:
this is a page with various types of research and a definition

OWL /writing a research paper
a general intro to the concept.

 Part 1: What is Information?

Link icon Recommended Websites

Information Literacy and types of information:

 Part 2: Developing Your Research Strategy

a. Topic and Research Question

Video IconRecommended Videos

Picking your topic IS research

College Research Tips:

Develop a Research Question:

How to Narrow a Research topic with the 5 Ws:

Link icon Recommended Websites

Purdue OWL: Choosing a Topic

What Makes a Good Research Question?

Link iconREQUIRED LINKS #1 (questions 4 & 5):


b. Choosing the right sources

Link icon REQUIRED LINKs #2 & 3

Did You Know? Information Cycle

UCF Libraries: The Information Cycle

Link icon Recommended Websites

The Information Cycle:

Part 3: Locating Sources – no links for this section

Part 4: Evaluating Sources

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SMART: Evaluating Sources

Researching Online for College Students: Five Easy Steps:

Link icon Recommended Websites

Purdue OWL. An in-depth discussion of evaluation, including web pages and print sources

Link icon REQUIRED LINKS #4-10 (questions 19-24):

Select this URL for question 19:

Select this URL for question 20:

Select this URL for question 21:

Then go to

Select this URL for question 22:

Select this URL for question 23:

Select this URL for question 24:

Part 5: Writing the Paper

a. Critical reading

Video IconRecommended Videos

Kickstart Critical Reading. An in-depth tutorial on how to learn and use critical reading:

Link icon Recommended Websites

Critical reading tutorial with 2 excellent power points embedded. PP1 is Critical Reading 101. PP2 is how to critically “read” images.

A one-page handout with Critical Reading strategies from U of Minnesota:

b. Synthesis and Integration – topic (thesis) sentence


Link icon Recommended Websites

U of Illinois slide show on how to synthesize, with examples:

Writing Commons shows how to synthesize and integrate sources:

Help…I've Been Asked to Synthesize! Defines synthesis and shows what to do and not do:
Excellent tutorial on synthesis.

Purdue OWL: examples of thesis statements

Integrating Sources: Paraphrasing, Quoting and Summarizing

Video IconRecommended Videos

Quoting vs paraphrasing MLA Style has useful examples:

Link icon Recommended Websites

Purdue OWL discussion of all 3 ways to integrate sources: https://owl.english.

Purdue OWL examples of paraphrasing:

This excellent guide from the U of Illinois discusses the three ways of integrating sources:

Las Positas College examples of paraphrasing, quoting and summarizing, with MLA examples:

Loyola Marymount U has this excellent libGuide with examples: http://libguides.lmu.

Balancing Your Voice

Link icon Recommended Websites

Supporting Your Opinions: the art of Balancing Your Voice:

Part 6: Using Information Appropriately

Link icon REQUIRED LINK #11 (question 34):

Academic Integrity Tutorial:

a. Plagiarism

Video IconRecommended Videos

Plagiarism: How to Avoid it.

Link icon Recommended Websites

Purdue OWL: very good overview of plagiarism, including best practices and exercises. 5 examples of plagiarism plagiarism example

b. Citation

In-text citation tips

Video IconRecommended Videos

MLA formatting: in-text citations - the basics: a bit long but very useful:

What are in-text citations?

Using Citations Effectively. A more light-hearted look:

Link icon Recommended Websites

Purdue OWL MLA in-text citations: the basics

Works Cited Page

Purdue OWL: MLA Sample Works Cited Page:

Purdue OWL: complete sample undergraduate paper marked up in MLA