Research Guide for

ENGC 1101 College Writing (Meek)


Explore Topics and Questions

Exploratory Research is exploring a topic through various kinds of sources (books, magazines, encyclopedias, journals, etc.) without any end goal in mind, just to see what has been written about this topic. 

As you explore a topic, you will begin to formulate questions about it that you can eventually turn into an inquiry question. 

Start your exploratory research by looking for topics in these databases:

Opposing Viewpoints (Gale In Context)
Opposing Viewpoints in ContextTopic overviews, opinion articles, and additional sources on social, economic, and political issues.  Search "food" to see pages about food.

CQ Researcher
Reports on controversial issues of national importance (health care, public safety, education, environment, etc.). Each report is on a single topic. Helpful as a topic overview.   Search "food" to see reports about food.

Gale eBooks
Selected dictionaries, encyclopedias, and reference books in many subjects.  Search for specific food topics.

Databases and Resources on Different Cultures

A to Z the World
Country reports for most countries with basic geography and politics, human rights and religious freedom information, descriptions of business culture, and travel warnings.  Each country in this database also has a section on the country's national cuisine. 

Encyclopedia of Food and Culture
A three-volume survey of food and its place in human culture and society, presented through 600 alphabetically sorted entries. Features multidisciplinary coverage of such topics as comfort food, ethnicity and food, medieval banquets, and nutrient composition, among many others. Includes photographs, illustrations, sidebars, recipes, menus, and timelines. For students and general readers.

ABC-CLIO eBook Collection
This e-book collection, spun off from the Daily Life Through History database, covers daily life in many time periods and regions of the world, cultural customs, and the histories of particular countries.   
 Link to dozens of ebooks on food and culture which are mostly focused in individual countries

Focused Research - Find Articles

Research is a circular process. You will pick a topic, formulate an inquiry question, and research sources about that topic to answer the question. However, you may find that sources don’t quite address the question you’re asking, or they may give you a different understanding of your topic. This will in turn cause you to tweak your inquiry question or topic to incorporatie info from the sources you find, and research in a new direction.

When you have an inquiry question, search these databases: 

Academic Search Complete (EBSCOhost)
Articles in all subjects from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers. An all-purpose database and often a good place to start.  All types of sources. 

Academic OneFile (Gale)
Academic OneFile (Gale)Articles in all subjects from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers. An all-purpose database.  All types of sources. 

ProQuest News & Newspapers

News articles from U.S. newspapers. Includes the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Star Tribune, and many local newspapers.

 Newspapers only.

Research Reminders

Research Reminders

  • Research is a process. You probably won’t find everything you need on the first try. You may need to do multiple searches or read some background information about your topic before contining to search.
  • If you can’t find much on your topic, try different keywords. Using synonyms or broader related terms can help you find more articles. As you research, be on the lookout for new keywords to use.

Choosing a Topic Is Research

Developing Keywords


Ask a Librarian

Call, e-mail, or chat with a librarian for more research assistance. We're happy to help!

  (952) 358-8290


photo of DavidDavid Vrieze Daniels
Reference and Instruction Librarian

Note: Your chat question may be directed to a librarian from another college when Normandale librarians are unavailable.

Access Our Databases from Anywhere

Online Library Access Info
To access databases and other Library resources, login with your StarID and password when prompted.  Access is only available to current Normandale students and employees.


Evaluate Source Credibility

Evaluate each source you use with CAPPS!
Consider the source's –
C = Currency
A = Author
P = Publication
P = Point of View
S = Sources

More info about CAPPS pdf

Cite your Sources (MLA)

MLA Quick Guide (PDF)
See MLA citation examples for the most common types of sources (9th edition).

MLA Formatting and Style Guide (OWL at Purdue)
This website offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, and the Works Cited page. Uses MLA 9th edition.

Avoiding Plagerism

Avoiding Plagiarism (U of WI Madison)
Quoting, paraphrasing, and avoiding plagiarism. Guide includes helpful examples.