Dakota County Technical College Library

Composition I Research Guide

Online Reference

Reference books and online resources like Access Science, Britannica Academic, and Salem Online are great for improving your background knowledge on almost any topic. These resources also provide images and videos, which you can use to liven up your papers and presentations.


Access Science


Britannica Academic


Salem Online

Evaluating Web Sources

Here are some useful guides to help you evaluate information you find on the web:

Writing & Citing

Write Your Paper


The Center for Student Success offers tutoring to all DCTC students, including help with writing your paper and citing your sources. You can schedule an appointment by calling 651-423-8420 or visiting room 2-101.


Cite Your Sources


There are different styles for citing the sources you use in your assignments. Your instructor will let you know whether to use APA, Chicago, MLA, or some other style.


Here are some introductory guides to these styles from the Purdue Online Writing Lab:


Our catalog and most databases provide citations for the books, videos, and articles you find in them. Just look for a link that says Cite or Citation, then select the appropriate style. It's easy to copy and paste citations into your bibliography!


Avoid Plagiarism


"Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials."


This definition of plagiarism comes from page 1 of DCTC's Student Code of Conduct. See how easy that was?


Citing your sources is an essential step in the research process. This allows others to verify your information and gives credit to previous researchers and writers for their hard work.

Library Hours

During Stay-At-Home Order:

Library staff are available remotely at library@dctc.edu, 651-423-8366, and Zoom (email for appointments) during our regular spring semester hours. The physical library is currently closed.


Fall & Spring Semesters:

Monday - Thursday:
7:30 AM to 5:00 PM
7:30 AM to 3:30 PM


Summer Sessions:

Monday - Thursday:
8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

About This Guide

Welcome to the DCTC Library's Composition I subject guide. This guide will help you to

  • find online reference resources
  • find books, videos, ebooks, and streaming videos
  • find magazine, journal, and newspaper articles
  • identify trustworthy information on the web
  • and cite your sources

In the Library

We have many books and videos about writing in our collection, including Rules for Writers, "They Say / I Say", and The Norton Field Guide to Writing on reserve. Books on reserve must be used in the Library, except with permission from your instructor to check them out overnight.


Find Books & Videos

Our Catalog: OneSearch


Use our catalog, OneSearch, to find the books and videos on our shelves, plus ebooks and streaming videos. OneSearch includes ebooks about writing from our EBSCO eBooks Collection and streaming videos from Films On Demand.




The best way to begin your search is to enter one or two keywords on your topic. To narrow your results, use the Modify My Results options on the left side of the screen. You can also click on a relevant title and click on one of its subject headings to focus your search on that particular topic.


Our collection is organized by Library of Congress call numbers. If you like to browse, most books and videos about writing are shelved in the PE call number range. Ask a librarian if you need help finding anything.


Interlibrary Loan


If we don't have what you're looking for, you can expand your search to include all libraries in the Minnesota State system or even all libraries in Minnesota. You can request books, videos, and articles from other libraries through interlibrary loan (ILL) and we'll e-mail you when the items are ready to pick up here at the DCTC Library. Ask a librarian if you have any questions.

Find Articles

Below you'll find just a few of our many Online Resources for finding magazine, newspaper, and journal articles. The best way to begin your search is to enter one or two keywords on your topic. Each database is different, but there will be ways to limit and focus your results so that you find the most relevant and useful articles available.


EBSCO Our EBSCO databases are an excellent place to start your search for magazine and journal articles.
Gale Our Gale databases are another great place to find magazine and journal articles.
ProQuestSearch more than 2,800 newspapers, newswires, and news sites with ProQuest Global Newsstream.


Please visit the Library or contact us if you have any questions about our online resources or if you'd like help finding articles on your topic.​

LearningExpress Library
LearningExpress Library

LearningExpress Library is an outstanding resource for academic and career development with hundreds of online tutorials, practice tests, and ebooks.


Of particular interest to Composition I students: there are practice sets, ebooks, and tutorials for grammar and writing in the College Students module. Math, reading, and science skills are also covered.


The Computer Skills Center module includes video courses on Microsoft Excel, Word, and other Office programs.


The Career Preparation module includes ebooks to help you with your job search, interviewing, networking, and workplace skills.

Opposing Viewpoints
Opposing Viewpoints

Opposing Viewpoints features information and opinions on more than 400 social issues and current events. For each topic, you'll find viewpoint essays; reference information; full-text articles from magazines, academic journals, and newspapers; primary source documents; statistics; images; videos; audio; and trustworthy websites.

Points of View Reference Center
Points of View Reference Center


Points of View Reference Center features opinions on more than 400 social issues, from 3D gun printing to zoos and circuses. For each topic, you'll find an overview and point and counterpoint opinion essays.


Points of View Reference Center - Basic Searching tutorial

Selected Web Sites
Selected Ebooks

Here are just a few of the ebooks you'll find in our collection:


P301.5 P47 Writing Powerful Persuasive PiecesWriting Powerful Persuasive Pieces
Nancy Loewen, 2016


PE1408 Fundamental College CompositionFundamental College Composition
William P. De Feo, 2017


PE1408 Little Red Writing BookThe Little Red Writing Book : 20 Powerful Principles for Clear and Effective Writing
Brandon Royal, 2012


PE1408 Polishing Your ProsePolishing Your Prose : How to Turn First Drafts Into Finished Work
Steven Cahn, 2013

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Your Librarian

Michael Kirby



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