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ENGL 414

Research Writing

What Is the ENGL 414 Lib Guide?

Welcome to the library guide for ENGL 414! 

If you are visiting this page, you may be asking yourself what a library guide is and how you can use it. A library guide is a website designed to provide users with a variety of resources and thus to enhance learning. This library guide has been created specifically for ENGL 414: Research Writing (see the description of the course to the right). The guide's purpose is to help students improve their critical information literacy competencies as they work toward becoming more savvy, practiced, and independent reseachers. 

This guide has been created by UAA/APU consortium librarian Anna Bjartsmarsdottr and Assistant Professor Heather Brook Adams. We hope you will find the guide a useful resource in identifying and practicing advanced information literacy skills. Please feel free to contact us with your comments and questions about our guide. 


What Is Information Literacy?

According to the Association of College and Research Libraries, information literacy refers to 

"the skills to know when we need information and where to locate it effectively and efficiently. It includes the technological skills needed to use the modern library as a gateway to information. It enables us to analyze and evaluate the information we find, thus giving us confidence in using that information to make a decision or create a product."

Although information literacy can--and often is--practiced outside of educational contexts, this course focuses on developing information literacy skills for research writing. This lib guide provides definitions and explanations meant to help navigate the specific types of information literacy practices related to scholarly thinking and writing. Some terms that are discussed here are:

peer review
academic article

What Is ENGL 414?

English 414: Research Writing helps students cultivate awareness about expectations of high-quality, upper- division undergraduate research—both in terms of process and product.

The primary goal of this course is for students to become more sophisticated and savvy research writers in their own area of study. Students learn key lessons about producing good research writing, apply these lessons to their writing, and, most importantly, gain a sense of what types of questions good researchers must ask about the process of research writing as they hone their craft.

This course asks students to shift from a “writing for the teacher in order to get a grade” mindset to a “writing as a researcher to teach my readers” mindset. Doing so helps students make the often challenging transition to becoming an increasingly independent, autonomous researcher

Who Should Use this Guide?

This guide is designed for students of ENGL 414: Research Writing, but we hope that it will also be of use for

  • other upper-level undergraduates doing research for class or a thesis project
  • faculty members who are mentoring undergraduate researchers

Contents of This Guide

  • The guide divides the research process into three segments: earlymiddle, and final stages of the research process.
  • A tab for undergraduate journals helps student researchers identify potential publication outlets for their work.
  • faculty resources page provides additional materials for instructors interested in supporting undergraduate students through semi-independent/advanced research projects including several short readings on teaching/learning scholarship related to Information Literacy best practices and several assignments for ENGL 414 that can help students develop research writing competencies.

Understanding Research as a Developing Skill

rsd7 framework

In ENGL 414: Research Writing, students work on becoming more independent and autonomous researchers. The course is meant to help students advance along the continuum represented by the Research Skill Development Framework shown above. (Click on the link above the image to open a larger version of the framework.) The framework was developed by the University of Adelaide (see for more information).

Often, research writing in the college classroom falls under the orange column: bounded research. This type of research is characterized by the boundaries for completing it (e.g., guiding prompt, number of sources) that are frequently established by the course instructor. Scaffolded (yellow) and student-initiated research (green) encourage students to increasingly establish their own reasons, contexts, and questions for research, even when the instructor provides guidance and structure along the way. In ENGL 414, research writers move toward open research (blue) through a variety of activities. These include:

  • inquiring about best practices for gathering and assessing information in one's disipline
  • seeking information and source material in order to understand the scholarly conversation related to a topic
  • crafting and regularly revising a research question related to the topic of study
  • adopting project goals that respond to a potential publication outlet (i.e., scholarly journal) that the student identifies and studies

Subject Guide

Anna Bjartmarsdottir's picture
Anna Bjartmarsdottir