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Choosing a Topic

Based on the assumption that you already understand your assignment ... #1 - select a topic of interest to you - its easier to research write about a matter that engages you; if your topic is assigned by the professor, try to find an aspect of the topic that piques...

Based on the assumption that you already understand your assignment ...

#1 - select a topic of interest to you - it's easier to research & write about a matter that engages you; if your topic is assigned by the professor, try to find an aspect of the topic that piques your interest
Suggestion: search the index/table of contents of your textbook ~or~ scan subject-specific encyclopedias for ideas

 

#2 - strategically focus (in some cases, broaden) your topic to ensure that you can locate adequate supporting information 
For example: "stereotypes" is too broad \ "stereotypes of minorities on television" is more focused --- "stereotypes of circus juggling acts on television" may be too focused

 

#3 - create a list of search terms & key concepts that describe your topic to make it easier to identify relevant resources when searching databases, the online catalog, etc. A few examples:
stereotypes  ~  television  ~  media African American  ~  Hispanic  ~  Asian
ethnicity ~ race ~ minority

 

#4 - conduct a preliminary search of the library's resources to determine the extent of information that is readily available to you.  Good starting points: locate  books (catalogs and eBooks), articles (databases), and audio-visual files
You may need to modify or change your topic based on the results of this search (but FIRST consult a reference librarian for guidance towards finding good resources); if information remains difficult to locate, you might consider meeting with your professor to discuss alternative topics

 

 

 

For further assistance: ASK A LIBRARIAN or consult the following ...


The following is a selection of resources (books, online sites, and database search engines) that provide additional tips related to choosing a topic.
1. PRINT RESOURCES: 
  • Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, 2003.  Call Number: Q180.55 .M4 B66 2003  -- *Ch. 4*
    • Raimes, Ann. Keys for Writers (5th Ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.  Call Number: Ref PE1408 .R16 2008 -- *Section 1d*
    • Search for "Reference Shelf" in the library's catalog - this series of books provides multiple perspectives on current hot topics, such as evolution, global epidemics, etc.
      2.  INTERNET RESOURCES:
      3.  DATABASE RESOURCES:
      • CQ Researcher (useful for identifying social issues/current topics)

       


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