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ENG 1061/1070 English Composition/Effective Speaking: Instruction session

Getting started with background research for composition and speech topics.

Periodical sorting activity

Look at the periodicals.

A periodical is a publication that comes out periodically, like daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or bi-annually.

1)  Decide which of the periodicals you have matches these categories

  • Scholarly/academic journal

  • Magazine

  • Trade or professional journal

How did you decide which kind it is?

What do you notice about academic journals?

Written by an academic, for an academic audience, published by an academic publisher or association, the authors' credentials are given, there is a works cited or reference list, and there are often footnotes or endnotes. Most are reporting on original scholarship, which could be a study or experiment.

What is a reference source?

A professor might suggest you use reference sources to gain background knowledge or a basic understanding of a topic. Notice the word REFER in the word "reference."

Some examples of reference sources are...

  • dictionaries
  • encyclopedias
  • directories
  • atlases
  • field guides


Scholarship is a Conversation

Inform Your Thinking

What is an academic source?

Professors often ask students to make sure to use "academic" sources for college assignments


In general, this means a source that is...

  • written by an expert with academic credentials (degrees)
  • published by an academic publisher
  • includes references to sources consulted, including a bibliography and in-text citations or footnotes or endnotes


What is a database?

An electronic collection of materials which includes information describing each item that can be searched. Library databases search a specific set of information sources, especially periodicals.