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:
- Old Dominion's Idea Generator
- Hot Topics from the U. of Louisville Libraries
3. DATABASE RESOURCES:
- CQ Researcher (useful for identifying social issues/current topics)
GO TO NEXT MODULE → FINDING RESOURCES