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English Composition Instructor Resources: Welcome

Instructor Resources for English Composition Courses

Welcome to your instructor guide to facilitating undergraduate English Composition courses!

This guide, along with the accompanying Learning Outcomes tab, will provide you with the resources you will need to successfully lead your students through their introductory research assignments.

To access course-specific guides for English 101/107 and 102/108, visit our course guides.

Should you need any assistance yourself, don't hesitate to reach out to your librarian, Jeremiah Paschke-Wood. Your University of Arizona Libraries team is here to help!

1. Formulating a Research Topic

Project Information Literacy research indicated that students find getting started the hardest part of the research process - see this insightful graphic

You can help your students overcome this hurdle by making sure that they have selected a "good" topic - one that is nuanced, can be managed, and can effectively be researched. Work with your students to help them develop and choose good topics and research questions. 

This worksheet activity can help students formulate a research topic: 

We also offer a related mind-mapping tutorial to practice narrowing down a suitable topic.

For more research tips (and information on the library as a whole), have your students visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. 

2. Developing a Search Strategy

Developing a search strategy can seem daunting, so we've developed two tutorials to lead your class through this stage of writing a research paper. Our first tutorial provides basic instructions on how to create an effective strategy, and the second explains when it might be best to rethink one's plan.

We've also prepared several activities (as well as other tutorials) on Search strategies and other topics that you could integrate into your lesson plan.

3. Differentiating Between Source Types

Once your students have formulated their research topics and planned their search strategies, they will need to determine the type of information and resources to substantiate their claims. The following three tutorials will help your class familiarize themselves with the types of sources they will be working with as they write their papers:

4. Locating Relevant Sources

To set your students up for resource-search success, we recommend starting with our introductory tutorial on conducting library searches. Once your class has mastered the basics, they can practice using our advanced library search to find items based on the keywords they specify.

Your students may also be interested in learning how to find materials by type, or by following a citation trail. We also have several pages with information on citations, as well as a tutorial on citation mechanics and avoiding plagiarism. 

See the box at the bottom of this page for a curated list comprised of a few of the 900+ databases searchable for University of Arizona students. 

5.1. Evaluating Your Online Sources and Information

As an instructor, you should have already completed this online information credibility activity based on research from Stanford University on how experts determine source credibility.

It's crucial for your students to learn how to evaluate their sources' validity as well. Therefore, we have designed a tutorial to introduce students to strategies on evaluating information found online. 

Check out the links below for external fact-checking tools for both political...

...and non-political information

5.2. Evaluating Your Popular and Scholarly Sources

Our Information Literacy Activities page as well as the following two tutorials will help your class develop the necessary skills to evaluate popular and scholarly sources in addition to online information:

Meet your Librarian

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Michelle Halla

A Note on University of Arizona Libraries Tutorials

You may self-register for Library Tutorials in D2L. Next, link to Library Tutorials in D2L from your course pages and ask your students to self-register.

Students who complete tutorials will automatically receive a certificate that they can submit to any course. The certificate is issued when a student receives 80% or higher on the tutorial quiz.

Reserve the Library Instruction Room

Instructors: Use the Request Reservation form to reserve the classroom. To request instructional support, or if you have questions, email

Citing Correctly and Avoiding Plagiarism

Arguably the most important skill for your students to take away from their undergraduate English Composition courses is how to cite properly and avoid plagiarism, both intentional and accidental, while completing their assignments.

Therefore, we've prepared two tutorials, one introductory, and one specifically on how to give credit to the ideas of others in various formats, as well as designed a number of activities, listed here under Citing & avoiding plagiarism, to further acquaint your students with this topic. 

Identifying Useful Databases

Below, we have prepared detailed, but not exhaustive, lists for further reference of databases for students doing English Composition research.

Reference Sources Scholarly Sources Popular Sources Newspapers




In addition to searching specific databases based on the resource type needed, your students may also want to identify suitable databases based on discipline (Subject Guides), or specific topics (Topic Guides). 

Note: Students attempting to access University of Arizona Libraries' databases and scholarly sources from off-campus locations may encounter certain hurdles. Please refer these students to the following instructional video.