Michigan State University

WRA 101: Writing as Inquiry

Resources for First Year Writing students enrolled in WRA 101

Develop your Topic

"Cultural Iceberg" Diagram

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: Article Search

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.

MSU Communities

Searching with a Purpose (video)

Video tutorial to help with your research focus and getting started with searching.

Direct link to "Searching with a Purpose" in MSU MediaSpace

Video credit: Megan Kudzia