Teaching & Learning Department I Services
Handouts: Information on key concepts & skills
Worksheets: Exercises for students
Activities: In-class activities to be facilitated by an instructor
More about information literacy.
Top 10 Research Tips for IU Students: Introduces key library resources and services
From Topic to Research Question: Steps in developing a topic and research questions
Narrowing a Topic: Steps in exploring and refining a research topic
Identifying Keywords: Tips on keyword searching in databases
Basic Search Tips: Search strategies and ways to narrow/broaden a search
Introduction to OneSearch@IU database: Tips for using this interdisciplinary database
Evaluating Sources Rhetorically: Page 1: Questions for evaluating sources rhetorically; Page 2: Illustration of Bizup's BEAM model for rhetorical source use.
Evaluating Search Results: Tips for how to evaluate relevance of search results
Is It Scholarly?: Questions for evaluating if a source is scholarly
Know Your Sources (Portland Community College): Characteristics of a variety of online and academic source types to consider when selecting sources
Anatomy of a [Scientific] Scholarly Article(Capella University)
Reading a Scholarly Article: Tips on understanding and using scholarly articles
Primary Sources: What primary sources how and how they can be used
Useful Terms for Academic Research: Explains terms for different resource types
Using Evidence (IUB Writing Tutorial Services)
Develop a Thesis: Emphasizes the role of the research process in thesis development
Annotated Bibliographies (Univ. of New South Wales-Australia)
Literature Reviews (Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
Staying Organized throughout the Research Process(Lake Forest College)
Choosing a Topic and Search Terms: Word document from U. of Virginia
Searching OneSearch and Google: Guidance and questions on finding and evaluating sources through the library database OneSearch@IU and Google
Sources as Seeds: Use a “seed” source to identify other relevant sources.
Sources as Conversation: Explore sources as reflections of larger debates and discussions.
Scholarly/Popular Source Comparison: Worksheet with guided questions for source evaluation
Web Evaluation: Guiding questions for evaluating websites relevant to a research topic
Preliminary Bibliography: Steps and guiding questions for developing a preliminary bibliography
Scope of a Research Question: Class activities on narrowing or broadening a research question and search strategy
Interpret a Citation: Explores citations as a way to locate and share sources
Library Guides for Instructors
"Big Picture" Video Tutorials (NCSU)
Research Assignment Design
Community of Online Research Assignments (CORA)
Thesis and Introduction Worksheet
Your thesis should...
... make an argument regarding your topic
- represents both a source of comfort and the threat of banality" is a thesis.
... consist of a strong statement
- -Weak value judgments like "interesting," "good," "bad," or "nice" are too vague to make for an effective thesis.
- -Your thesis should argue a point that is neither generally accepted (Shakespeare was a genius) nor self-evident (Hemingway writes simply).
- -Your thesis should not be too broad for the length of the paper. You cannot argue that "No love story of the twentieth century compares in intensity to Nabokov's
- " in four pages. However, a paper of that length probably could effectively assert that "The novel
- blurs the line between tenderness and violence."
Sample Thesis Statements
There are many similarities and differences between Humbert Humbert and Clare Quilty.
Throughout history, men have written about lusting after women; Lolita is no exception.
Morality is not the issue in Lolita; artistry is.
Lolita is a novel about America.
Lolita is a novel about the corruption of America.
In Lolita, the corruption of America merely provides a convenient cover-up for Humbert Humbert's personal perversion.
Lolita is an interesting novel, although the narrator, Humbert Humbert, is evil.
Love is dead in the twentieth century novel.
Although World War II is never mentioned in Lolita, its influence on American society motivates the novel.
Your introduction should...
... lay the logical foundation for your paper.
- -present relevant concepts and define key terms. E.g. a paper on love and passion in
- should begin with an explanation of the distinction between the two terms.
- -introduce your thesis. You don't have to give all your ideas away right at the beginning -- in fact, it's often more effective to save your conclusive point till the end -- but you must, at the very least, sketch the parameters of the question. What is it you plan to argue or prove in the paper?
... hook your reader.
- -know what you're trying to argue. Have a thesis.
- -write succinctly and specifically. Say what your argument is and what steps you're going to take to prove it.
- -use a key quotation. This does not have to be from the text on which you are writing. Cite it, unpack it, explain why it is relevant, and use it to formulate your thesis. Be sure the quotation is central to your argument and avoid cliches (e.g. "Love is blind").
- n.b. a quote from another source that begins a text is called an epigraph.
- -begin with a rhetorical question. The question should not be gratuitous, but should suggest to your reader the terms or the implications of the debate.
- -use creative writing techniques. Describe a particularly pertinent scene or situation from the text, emphasizing themes, images, etc. that will support your point. Be careful with this strategy. You rarely get mediocre results: your intro will turn out to be either splendid or abysmal.
- -give the larger context on which your thesis draws (but avoid generalization).
- Acceptable: Recent media attention to the murders of Megan Kanka and Jon Benet Ramsey has heightened public awareness about child sexual abuse. Thus the controversy over the new film version of Lolita has proved timely.
- Unacceptable: Child sexual abuse has always been a moral issue in the United States.
- -define a key term. E.g. Passion is fundamentally a self-centered emotion.
There are many similarities and differences between the characters of Humbert Humbert and Clare Quilty. By examining these similarities and differences, several important ideas can be seen. Both characters are obsessive and paranoid, but Quilty is more successful than Humbert.
Throughout history, men have written about lusting after women. In the novel "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov, the main character is seduced by a nymphet, Dolores Haze. He has always been attracted to nymphets due to a traumatic experience with his first love, Annabel, when he was young himself. After Lolita's mother dies, he has her all to himself, and they take two trips across the country, staying in motels and sightseeing. In the end, he is deceived by Lolita, who runs away with Quilty and later gets pregnant and marries someone else. This demonstrates how love is always doomed to failure, since his possession of her was always an illusion.
In his essay "On a Book Entitled Lolita," Vladimir Nabokov writes that his novel has "no moral in tow" (314). Regardless of whether we agree with Nabokov, reducing Lolita to a discussion of moral issues misses the point. Lolita is a work of fiction and must be treated as such. The first few pages of the novel establish this point beyond the shadow of a doubt by alluding to such literary predecessors as Poe, Merimee, Dante, Proust, and Keats. Without understanding these allusions, the novel itself cannot be understood.
Is Lolita a love story? Answering this question in the affirmative requires a redefinition of the term "love." After all, Humbert Humbert causes more misery than joy to the object of his affections. Lolita's suffering, both mental and physical, is apparent throughout the novel. And yet Humbert's obsession with her goes beyond mere lust or passion. He is both tender and constant in his affections. As a close examination of the end of the novel will show, Humbert Humbert is a lover as well as a rapist.