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A: Getting Started

An excellent starting point for your research is the Drain-Jordan Library (shortcut: www.wvstateu.edu/library ). Whether you come into the library to use print resources such as general or specialized encyclopedias or you begin your search online through the library's databases, you can rest assured that the library resources are credible and valid. Now let's get started.

A-1: Topic Selection and Basic Information

The majority of your research will be dictated by class assignments.
  • Do you need to present a pro and con paper on a controversial subject such as gun control?
  • Do you need to elaborate on a subject and then draw your educated conclusions on a subject like global warming?
  • Sometimes you'll need to explain a technical idea clearly such as explaining how to develop a simple computer program.
Whatever type of paper (assignment) is required, you will need a topic.


By selecting a topic that appeals to you, the assignment becomes more meaningful and engaging. If it is a stimulating topic for you it becomes less dull and retains your interest.

After topic selection you will probably need to develop a thesis statement.  A thesis statement is an idea or concept your're trying to prove.

For example, the topic is gun control.

But a thesis statement related to gun control could be "Lack of gun control results in increased murder rates in the United States."

At this point you should be ready to begin some basic research. For an overview of your chosen topic you may want to check for library books and/or ebooks. Visit the main library page (www.wvstateu.edu/library) and select Library Catalog. Searching the Library Catalog will retrieve both print and electronic (e)books. The Reference Department (1st floor of the library) has general and specialized encyclopedias which can also help you get started.

Contact Mary Horn: maryhorn@wvstateu.edu or (304) 766-3158
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