This is the "Understand
Your Topic" page of the "Professor Espinoza: The American Dream" guide.
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Professor Espinoza: The American Dream  

Last Updated: Apr 2, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Understand Your Topic Print Page

American Dream

American Dream


What Do You Know?

You probably already know a little something about the topic you chose, but it's important to find out more in order to write an intelligent research paper and/or make a good argument. 

Ask yourself:

  • What do I know?
  • What can I find out?

Reference resources help you find out more!

Library Research Guides lead you to the best resources to use when searching for information on your topic.

Always check to see if there's a Research Guide on your topic.


    Quick Tips

      • Look up your keywords in the indexes to subject encyclopedias.

      • Read articles in these encyclopedias to set the context for your research.

      • Note relevant items in the bibliographies at the end of the encyclopedia articles.

      • Additional background information may be found in your lecture notes, textbooks, and reserve readings.

                More Guides


                Understanding Your Topic - Where to Look

                Reference Sources   person with a book head

                Once you have chosen a topic for your paper, use general reference sources to get background information on your topic. Reference books such as the encyclopedias, dictionaries and handbooks, and the current issue titles are a good starting point for your research because they help you become better acquainted with your topic.

                See the lists below for some selected reference sources available online and in print. Ask a librarian if you need help finding more resources.

                Online reference resources require login for off-campus use.  Enter your Cerritos College login when prompted.  For more login information see the Database Login page.

                Selected Library Reference Sources - Online

                Here are some of the library's online reference resources which can help you get some background information on your topic.  These resources are available on and off campus.

                • Opposing Viewpoints in Context  Icon  Icon  Icon  Icon
                  Resource to investigate hot topics and social issues. Contains pro/con viewpoints, background information, statistics, primary sources, news articles, and podcasts.
                • Gale Virtual Reference Library  Icon
                  Provides access to the content of more than 270 reference sources in a database format for multidisciplinary research.

                Selected Library Reference Sources - Print

                Here are some reference books that are located in the library's Reference area. Although they cannot be checked out, students are able to photocopy pages.

                Cover Art
                Social Issues in America : An Encyclopedia
                Call Number: Reference Stacks REF HN57 .S624 2006 V 1-V8
                ISBN: 9780765680617

                Cover Art
                Is the American Dream a Myth? - Burns, Kate
                Call Number: HN59.2 .I79 2006
                ISBN: 9780737734935
                Publication Date: 2006

                Cover Art
                Income Inequality
                Call Number: REFDESK HC 110 .I5 I477 2016
                ISBN: 9780737775242

                Cover Art
                The Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture - Inge, M. Thomas.
                Call Number: Reference Stacks REF E169.1 .G7555 2002 V 4
                ISBN: 9780313308789
                Publication Date: 2002

                Cover Art
                Encyclopedia of American Studies - Kurian, George Thomas
                Call Number: Reference Stacks REF E169.1 .G7555 2002 V 1
                ISBN: 9780717292226
                Publication Date: 2001


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