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INTR 100

Library Guide
General outcomes...
Define nature and extent of the information needed
Access information effectively and efficiently
Evaluate information and its sources critically; Incorporate selected information into your knowledge base 
Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
Understand economic, legal, and social issues related to the use of information; access and use information ethically and legally
... today and in all your learning and scholarly activity

Specific outcomes...

Research Essay

Length: 1500-2000 words


Pose a research question about popular culture. Conduct sufficient research to develop a position on this question. Write an essay that organizes your research in a way that persuasively advances your position in the form of a claim (or related claims) about the topic. Your argument should be informed by scholarship and illustrated with in-depth examples of popular culture...

Source Expectations

...Your essay should draw on relevant scholarly sources (including the articles or book chapters that you identified in your proposal) in a manner that goes well beyond quoting a passage or two. These sources are your guides or companions. They will help establish the discussion, provide background, or perhaps argue between themselves or with you. Considering summarizing and paraphrasing your sources. If you have difficulty finding sources directly on your topic, look for sources on more general expressions of your topic (e.g. on mascots if you are working on Olympic mascots) or that can be applied to your topic.

Other scholarly or reference sources are welcome to explain or support specific points: e.g., if I claim that adolescent female violence remains constant rather than increasing, I need to find statistics to support this claim. Be especially careful not to make unsubstantiated claims of fact...





"Red shoes are never neutral..." (Webster 2009)


Academic article Popular article
Author expert in subject / discipline
often affiliated with a university or research centre
often a journalist or staff writer
Length lengthy (10-30 pages) usually short, up to 10 pages
Audience for readers who work / study in the same discipline or field for general readership
Content specialized language / vocabulary
reports outcomes of original scholarship / research
topical or general content
may refer to other people's research
Illustrations often includes data tables, graphs, charts
visual material elaborates what is discussed in the text
production quality may be high (glossy, white space)
often contains photos, ads
References yes, including in-text citations, or foot / endnotes, as well as reference list or bibliography no
may suggest further reading
Publisher often a university, or professional or scholarly association trade publishers, news & media companies
Distribution available by subscription or open access online, membership in scholarly societies often available at newsstands
popular subscriptions
available in all types of libraries


Studies in Popular Culture

Canadian Literature


Webster, Elaine. "Red Shoes: Linking Fashion and Myth." Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, vol. 7, no. 2, 2009, pp. 164-177. doi:10.2752/175183509X460074.




Collins, Lauren. "Sole Mate: Christian Louboutin and the psychology of shoes."The New Yorker, vol. 87, Condé Nast Publications, Inc, New York, 2011.

Key words & concepts? Consider:

  • broader...
  • narrower...
  • related...

Combine concepts, including syntax ("quotation marks for phrases" ; use OR to create a combined list of synonyms)

  • ("consumer goods") (nostalgia OR vintage OR classic)
  • ("red shoes" OR "red dancing shoes" OR "scarlet slippers") (feminism OR feminist)



1. Go to to use the LibrarySearch box at the top of the page.

2. Find at least one article and/or book that you think you can use for your essay assignment.

3. Add the citations for your items to the LibrarySearch folder.

4. Open the LibrarySearch folder and change your citations to MLA or APA style.  

5. Click on the “Email” link. Before sending the email to yourself, please answer these questions in the “Message” box, to remind yourself about helpful elements of your research process:

  • What did you search for – words and limiters? Perhaps copy this info from your results screen.
  • Why did you choose your item(s)? 
  • How do you know your choice is scholarly or otherwise reputable?

Build on search results

Trace sources, backward in time (reference list / bibliography / works cited) and forward in time (cited by)...

Baker, Stacey Menzel, and Patricia F. Kennedy. "Death by nostalgia: A diagnosis of context-specific cases." ACR North American Advances (1994).

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