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The Detective Novel: ENG 0857

Research help for the course, "The Detective Novel."

Library Research for The Detective Novel in the World

Group of famous detectivesThis guide will help you with your research assignments for the General Education course, The Detective Novel in the World. If you need help, contact the librarian.

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Kristina De Voe's picture
Kristina De Voe

Is it Okay to Use Wikipedia?

"Wikipedia? It's a great place to start, and a horrible place to end, at least that's what my professor says."

PIL Progress Report 2/09

Wikipedia can be a great place to begin finding information on a topic, trend, or issue. You'll need to find additional sources, but Wikipedia articles may help you learn more about your topic. Use the citation list at the bottom of Wikipedia entry pages to lead you to more sources. 

Understand the Assignment

checklist Before choosing a topic, make sure you understand your assignment. Read your assignment and look for:

  • Due Date
  • Length of the assignment
  • Number and type(s) of outside sources
  • Topic guidance
  • Points your instructor wants you to cover

Make sure you understand your assignment’s purpose. Are you supposed to take a side in an existing argument, explain a problem, propose a position, describe a project or process, or do something else?

If you find that you cannot describe what your assignment is about to someone else, either read it again or ask your instructor for clarification.

Focus Your Topic into a Research Question

Hand writing where, when, how, what, who, and why on a board

When you have chosen a topic, it's time to ask some questions. 

Applying the 5 W's -- who, what, when, where, why, and how -- to your topic can help you begin to find a more focused issue within that topic that will work well for your assignment.

Visualize Your Topic

Try visualizing your topic to explore all of the different angles, ideas, and key concepts related to your topic. This is a good brainstorming exercise and can also help focus your topic into a research question.

The tools below can help you visualize your topic.