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ENGL 100 - Peter Bruni: Comparing Economic Systems in the United States - Capitalism and Socialism

Identify your information need & Get to know what you need to know...

There are two main parts of getting to know your information need:

  • Understand your end goal (what is your professor asking of you? what is required to successfully complete the assignment?)
  • Identify your topic and primary research concepts (what are you going to write about? what are important related concepts, people, and events? what other language can be used to express similar ideas?) 

Useful Tips for Getting Started on Your Topic

Research Process Help

Your Topic and Primary Research Concepts

Break down your topic into primary concepts...for example:

What might be the socio-economic effects on the US, and its citizens, of the US moving from a capitalist economic system to a socialist economic system? Three main concepts are emphasized: socio-economic effects; United States and/or US citizens; and comparison of economic systems -- socialist and capitalist.

Each of these primary concepts can be researched individually and/or in combination. This will be described on the background information & deeper research pages of this guide.

Before beginning your searches, clarify your concepts, and brainstorm other important terminology for your topic.

  • Identify broad concepts that will need to be narrowed: Socio-economic effects
  • Ask & Narrow: Who, What, Where, When, Why/How
    Which specific socio-economic effects? Effects on which group of people? Effects in which region? Effects according to a specific timeline?
    Hint: Revisit your assignment instructions for ideas about specific types of socio-economic issues that you can write about
  • Brainstorm important related concepts: Ideas, people, organizations, events, etc.
    This may be closely related ideas (like democracy, political parties, economic systems, etc.); people or organizations (a specific candidate or party like the Socialist Party USA, etc.); events (specific elections or historical events); or even alternative ways of saying the same or very similar things...synonyms.

Take Note of the End Goal

  • ApproachCompare/Contrast
  • Terms related to approach: Research, Analytical, Personal Response
  • Specific requirements:
    • Number of reputable sources 
    • Acceptable source types (newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, books, websites)
    • Number of sources that must meet specific criteria such as date or scholarly/peer reviewed
  • Organizational & writing requirements, including length of paper
  • Citation requirements: MLA Style, including parenthetical citations and Works Cited list
  • Check-in and Due Dates 

Brainstorming Keywords Video