Dictionary of American Regional English (online). Documents the full range and evolution of American regional vocabulary, focusing on the regional aspects of American English, documenting words, phrases, and pronunciations that vary across American regions.
The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (online) is a great place to get background on a research topic. Articles, available in html or pdf, can be browsed by title or topic and have a list of bibliographic references. The encyclopedia may be also searched by keyword. For off campus access, use your campus id and password.
American Heritage Dictionary for Learners of English Ref. PE1628 .A6229 2002 (Atlanta and Clarkston Campuses)
American Heritage Thesaurus for Learners of English Ref. PE1591 .L36 2002 (Atlanta and Clarkston Campuses)
Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics Ref. P29 .E48 2006 (Atlanta Campus)
Brainstorm possible search terms for your topic. Keep in mind that you may need to simplify long phrases by breaking them up into separate search terms or smaller phrases.
Consult background information. Specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries and guides are a great time saving tool. Many of these are located in the Reference Collection on Library North 2.
These sources provide topical overviews, summarize basic concepts, and are filled with names and events you can use as keywords in your searching. Many encyclopedia articles also include carefully selected bibliographies that will lead you to additional resources.
Be flexible as you settle on a final topic. Do a few preliminary searches in the library catalog or article databases before commiting to a topic. Make sure you can locate primary sources. You may find that you need to narrow or broaden your focus.
Cite as you go. Even if you're not sure whether you will use a source, it's much easier to note the citation information up front than to decide you need it later!