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Writing in the Digital Age (WITDA)

Guide students doing research for the WITDA course

Getting Started with Your Research

Hit Makers

Use the essays in this book as a model for the Hit Essay.

You must reference this book at least once in your paper; it counts as one of the 4 required quality sources.

New York Times

The American newspaper of record for over 150 years. Look up the history of a hit as it was first reported. Track how its coverage and reputation might have changed over time.

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Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints

Get information on various sides of trending topics and social issues.

Featured Viewpoints collect 4-6 articles that represent different sides or points of view on a topic.


Get an encyclopedic view on historic events, persons, and topics.


Use Wikipedia to take the pulse on a topic. Identify relevant search words and phrases for use in other databases.

Popular Culture

Find specialized academic sources for comics, fan culture, memes, transformative works, and more/

Citation Guide (MLA 8th Edition)

Learn how to cite all of the sources in your paper, including books, articles, images, videos, tweets, blogs, and more.

Hit Essay Prompt

Identify a current pop culture hit from one of the listed categories.

Then, compose an argument essay (1000 – 1250 words) in which you make a case for why the hit is popular now and if it has lasting potential.

Check your course in the LMS for more detailed information about this prompt as well as a list of Hit Articles.

Video: Develop a Research Question

How to Research for the Hit Essay

  1. Choose a category:
    • Visual art
    • Music
    • Fashion
    • Education
    • Technology
    • Film
    • Television
    • Media ethics/ politics
    • Pop culture phenomena
  2. Decide on a hit within that category, such as:
    • Augmented reality
    • The Gig Economy
  3. Start your research on the hit:
    • Who made it? Why?
    • When was it created?
    • What problem does it solve?
    • Has its purpose changed over time?
    • Who or what made it popular?
  4. Put it into context:
    • Where did it come from?
    • Did it exist in a different form in the past?
    • Did it disrupt an existing industry or process?
    • Was it popular when it was first released?
  5. Make predictions in the argument essay
    • Why does it have potential?
    • What is its economic impact?
    • Will it last?
  6. PROFIT Write the paper (1000 - 1250 words), including:

Visit the Student Learning Center for more help with writing this (and any other) essay.

Video: Credibility Is Contextual

This framework refers to a recognition that information resources are drawn from a creator's expertise and credibility is based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority should be viewed with an attitude of informed skepticism and an openness to new perspectives, additional voices, and changes in schools of thought.

Criteria for Evaluating Information

Fake News

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