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Michigan State University

AL 110: Writing and Civic Life

Develop your Topic

Brainstorming a strong topic for your cultural artifact paper can be one of the hardest parts of the assignment. This video has some strategies to help you develop a topic that you can research, and that will be engaging for you to write about, and your readers to read.

Searching with a Purpose (video)

Searching With A Purpose video

Do a Little Background Reading

Sometimes, it's hard to know what to write about without doing some background reading about your artifact. This will help you think about what is interesting about the artifact, and help you focus your topic. You probably won't cite your background reading directly in your paper (unless asked to by your instructor), but it's a good way to help you think about your artifact in new ways.

Search for Information

Once you have a preliminary topic, you can start searching for information. Remember, this process is recursive. That means that your topic or focus will probably change as you see what kind of information is out there. For that reason, make sure you don't write your entire paper before finding sources - the sources you find will inform what you write about and are an important part of your writing process.

Start Here: SearchPlus

Using SearchPlus for the Cultural Artifact Assignment (video)

Try These Next

Cultural or National Communities

Academic Communities

If you want to find the perspective of a particular academic, disciplinary or professional community, try looking through some of the library's resources for that specific group.

Michigan State University