Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ENG 1100: English Composition): Starting an Assignment

Going Green Environmental Writing Assignment



Template copied and used with permission from Amy Barker at Kennesaw State University.

Understand your assignment image

1. Read the whole assignment as soon as you receive it so you know what is required and what you will be evaluated on. Read it closely and carefully, jotting notes in the margins.

2. Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand.

3. Use the Tips & Tools from The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to understand, interpret, and identify the clues embedded in the assignment in order to meet the requirements and your instructor's expectations.

4. Take one minute to watch the UNC Writing Center video below. (Pause to read the assignment prompt once it appears on screen).

Things to Consider:

1. Choose a topic you are interested in! - You'll be more engaged and are likely to do better on the assignment.

2. Pick a theme or subject that keeps coming up in class - Review class notes or readings for inspiration.

3. Consider "Brainstorming" for ideas - The video below explains how to brainstorm for a topic and then lets you practice the technique.

4. Ask your instructor - Talk your topic idea over with them to determine if your topic area is too narrow or too broad depending on your assignment.

Once you have an idea for a topic, you should do some research to learn about the concepts and context of your topic. A few places to start include:

Britannica Academic 

An online encyclopedia with information on many subjects and related internet sites. Access requires CUC login and password. Information is scholarly and credible.

Academic Search Complete

A database with a broad range of content designed for academic institutions. Access requires CUC login and password. Information is generally scholarly and credible.

Library Catalog

Library reference books can be found by using the filters on the left hand side and checking "Books" and "Held by Library."

Wikipedia: A free encyclopedia that anyone can add to and/or edit. It can be a good place to get some background information for a topic. While some information may be scholarly, it is generally not seen as scholarly and not appropriate for citing in college papers.

Now that you've done some background research, it's time to narrow your topic. Remember: the shorter your final paper, the narrower your topic needs to be. Here are some suggestions for narrowing and defining your topic:

  • Is there a specific subset of the topic you can focus on?
  • Is there a cause and effect relationship you can explore?
  • Is there an unanswered question on the subject?
  • Can you focus on a specific time period or group of people?

Describe and develop your topic in some detail. Try filling in the blanks in the following sentence, as much as you can:

I want to research ____(what/who)____

and ____(what/who)____

in ____(where)____

during ____(when)____

because ____(why)____.