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English 100 - Professor Zamora - Spring 2017  

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Understand  Your Topic Print Page

Lorraine Gersitz

Lorraine Gersitz

Lorraine's Contact Info:

   (562) 860-2451 x2414

   LC 60

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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.


    The Concept Essay

    Your Assignment

    Write an essay about a concept of your choice. When you have a good understanding of the concept you have chosen, explain it to your readers, considering carefully what they might already know about it and how your essay might add to what they know.


    • Three outside sources
    • You may use the following:
      • books
      • academic journals
      • authoritative web sites from institutions trusted by academics (typically .gov, .edu, and .org)
      • movies, television shows
    • You are not allowed to use encyclopedias, dictionaries, magazines, or Wikipedia
    • MLA style

    What is a concept?

    • An abstract idea; a general notion
    • Something conceived in the mind


    • Feminism
    • Evil
    • Beauty
    • Fetish
    • Perseverence
    • Success

    Define and learn about your concept

    Once you have chosen a concept, use general reference sources to better understand it and get background information. Reference sources 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

    Selected Library Reference Sources - Online

    Below are some of the library's online resources that can help you get some background information on your topic.  These resources are available on and off campus but require a login for off-campus use.  Enter your Cerritos College ID and password when prompted.  For more login information see the Database Login page.

    • Oxford English Dictionary
      Guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. Traces the usage of words through quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, classic literature, and other sources.
    • Gale Virtual Reference Library  Icon
      Provides access to the content of more than 270 reference sources in a database format for multidisciplinary research.
    • 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.

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