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El Paso Community College
Library Research Guides

ENGL 1301 - Argumentative Essay - Stephanie Legaretta: How Do I Get Started?

Provides resources to support writing an argumentative essay.

Choose a Topic

  • The first step is to choose a topic.

  • Use the assignment provided by Ms. Legaretta and select one of the "Argument Essay #2" prompts.

  • Each prompt provides directions for writing your argument.

    • If you need ideas to help you choose a topic as your prompt directs, try using the Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints database to help you.

    • To use: Go to the "Controversial" Tab - Click on "Gale in Context:  Opposing Viewpoints" - On right side of page, click on "Browse Issues" - Find a topic that matches your topic - Click on that topic and you will have background information, viewpoint essays for/against different aspects of the topics, articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers - You will see the top 3 items for each category, to see more click on the Heading (featured viewpoints, academic journals, etc...)

  • Since many of these topics may be new to you, it is a good idea to find out more about them before jumping in and writing, this is called Background Information.

Keyword List

After you find a topic and look for background information, try coming up with a list of keywords you can use to search books, articles, and websites.


Childhood Obesity - obesity, overweight, bmi, children, pediatrics, adolescents

Gun Control - guns, firearms, laws, legislation, Second Amendment

These will be words you can put together to search for your topic.

For example a search could be:  gun control and second amendment

If you use words to search and don't get any hits, first check the spelling of the words and then try changing the words you are using.


Background Information

Once you find a topic to research, you will want to look for background information.  Background information provides you with an overview of your topic.  You can find out the key topics, issues, people who are associated with the topic, both sides of an issue, etc...

This helps you understand both sides of issues, arguments for and against, and gives you a good overview of the topic before you jump into researching.

A good resource to use for background research is Credo Reference.  This resource provides you with information on a number of topics.

For example:  

  1. Click on the link Credo Reference. (you may need to enter your MyEPCC login information)
  2. In the search box, put words for your topic:  Artificial Intelligence
  3. You will retrieve many different sources like encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and other reference materials that will help explain this topic.


Credo Reference

Put your search words in this box to look for background information on your topic.

Credo Logo

Sources for your Paper

For this assignment, you need 2-3 sources.  One of your sources will be the text your read.  The other source(s) must come from the EPCC Library Online Databases.  

The databases include eBooks, Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers.

The Online Databases are broken down into many subjects.  For this topic, the "Controversial" tab would be a good place to start.

You can also search databases on the "General" tab or use the "EBSCO Discovery Service" to find more resources.

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