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Getting Started with Research at Shapiro Library

This guide discusses understanding information sources, formulating a topic and search phrase, where and how to search the library for information, how to evaluate sources, how to cite sources, and more.

Writing Help

Writing Paragraphs

An introductory paragraph for an essay or paper should usually include the following three elements:

  1. An attention getter to draw your readers in and make them interested in the subject matter
  2. A brief overview of the subject to be discussed in the essay or paper
  3. A thesis statement which states the goal or purpose of your essay or paper

Need help writing paragraphs? Check out these resources:

Writing Papers

Need help writing a multi-page paper? Check out these resources:

Writing Literature Reviews

"A literature review discusses published information in a particular subject area, and sometimes information in a particular subject area within a certain time period.

A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis. A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information. It might give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations. Or it might trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates. And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant." Source: The Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill. (2013). Literature Reviews. Retrieved from

Need help writing a literature review? Check out these resources:

Writing an Outline

An outline breaks down your thesis or paper into clear, definable parts. It presents a hierarchal image of your paper's main ideas and subsequent ideas or topics. Many students find that writing an outline before they write their paper helps keep them on track and makes the process a little easier.

Check out these resources for help writing an outline:

Public Speaking Tips

Looking for tip and tricks to help you ace your presentation? Check out these resources:

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is essentially a list of citations to books, articles, and other documents, e-resources--(websites for example), and media (film, music, television.)  Following the citation is a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph of the work.  These paragraphs are the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to help you manage your research and also to  inform your professor of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Example of a Book Citation with Annotation:

Liroff, R. A., & G. G. Davis. (1981). Protecting open space: Land use control in the Adirondack Park. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.

This book describes the implementation of regional planning and land use regulation in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. The authors provide program evaluations of the Adirondack Park Agency’s regulatory and local planning assistance programs.

Example of a Journal Article Citation with Annotation:

Gottlieb, P. D. (1995). The "golden egg" as a natural resource: Toward a normative theory of growth management. Society and Natural Resources, 8, (5): 49-56.

This article explains the dilemma faced by North American suburbs, which demand both preservation of local amenities (to protect quality of life) and physical development (to expand the tax base). Growth management has been proposed as a policy solution to this dilemma. An analogy is made between this approach and resource economics. The author concludes that the growth management debate raises legitimate issues of sustainability and efficiency.

Examples from the Robert E. Kennedy Library, CalPoly, San Luis Obispo, CA.

Adapted from Olin & Uris Libraries,  Cornell University, Cornell, NY

Check out these links for more help with annotated bibliographies:


Check out these FAQs for more help with annotated bibliographies:

More Help Writing & Presenting

Still need help writing or presenting? Contact the Wolak Learning Center or Online Writing Center:

Undergraduate Day (UC) Students:

The Wolak Learning Center provides all undergraduate day students with a variety of services including peer tutoring and walk-in tutoring. Visit them on the second floor of the Wolak Library Learning Commons or contact them at 603.645.9606 or

Online and Evening (COCE) Students:

All SNHU students, including online and evening students, enrolled in a writing intensive class may use SmarThinking--a free online tutoring service. COCE students can also access the Online Writing Center (OWC) for a number of writing resources. Contact them at

Still Need Help? Ask a Librarian!

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