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ENG 101 - American Dream

This guide provides a starting point for research on the American Dream.

1. Getting Started

Exclamation PointFirst Things First - Assignment Requirements

Before you begin work on any research paper, examine the assignment closely for any requirements. 

  • How long is the paper?
  • How many sources?
  • What kind of sources?
  • How do you cite sources? (MLA format usually)
  • What is due?
  • When is it due?
  • What other requirements should you make note of?

Selecting a Topic

The first thing you need to do before you begin a research paper is to select a topic that you're going to write about. Consider the following:

Q. Do you have a choice / what are you interested in?

Yes, you have to write about the American Dream, but you have a lot of freedom within that topic to write about an issue that's meaningful to you. In the next couple of sections on this guide - you'll have an opportunity to explore different aspects of the American Dream, define what it means to you, and then narrow to an aspect or population that really interests you.

Q. Are there enough sources?

Before you totally commit to a topic, you'll want to make sure that there are enough outside sources on the topic for your assignment. Not every topic is going to have information written about it. Newer topics or topics that aren't as well known may be harder to find sources for.  Do some searching in the library's databases to make sure there are sources, and Ask-A-Librarian to double-check if you're not sure there are enough sources for a topic you're really interested in.