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 ContextOpposing Viewpoints (Gale In Context) provides full-text articles and reference material on a wide range of social issues.  Search "food" to see pages about food.

CQ Researcher
CQ Researcher report is dedicated to a single topic and is researched and written by a journalist. Each report includes background and chronology, an assessment of the current situation, pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions, and bibliographies of further reading.  Search "food" to see reports about food.

Gale eBooks
Gale eBooks is a collection of full-text e-books including encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books in biography, history, literature, medicine, and more.  Search for specific food topics.

Databases and Resources on Different Cultures

A to Z the World
Country reports for 175 countries include basic geography and political information as well as descriptions of business culture, human rights and religious freedom information, 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 Premier
Academic Search Premier is a multi-disciplinary database designed specifically for academic institutions. It includes articles from academic journals, popular magazines, and major newspapers.  All types of sources. 

Academic OneFile (Gale)
Academic OneFile (Gale)Academic OneFile offers sources on a wide range of topics from scholarly journals and magazines and newspapers.  All types of sources. 

ProQuest News & Newspapers
Provides full text coverage of thousands of U.S. 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 Databases from Off Campus

Access Databases from Off Campus
In order to access databases and other Library resources from off campus, login with your StarID and password when prompted.  Off-campus access to library databases is only available to current Normandale students, staff, and faculty.

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
See MLA citation examples for the most common types of sources (8th 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.