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Choosing a Topic and Finding Background Information
Try creating a concept map to brainstorm topic ideas. Or, start by searching for information about subjects that interest you, using Google or Wikipedia.
If you are interested in controversial topics, pro/con databases and websites are good places to get ideas about current social issues:
- Explore the Browse Issues section of the Opposing Viewpoints in Context database for topic ideas (you'll be prompted to log in with your Pipeline information from off campus).
- Explore the issues on the ProCon.org website (this website is freely available and won't require a login).
Once you have a broad idea of your topic, Library reference sources like those listed below are a great place to find objective background information. They can also help you narrow your topic and discover keywords for further searching.
Online Reference Sources
To access these reference databases from off campus, you will be prompted to log in with your Pipeline username and password.
Credo Reference This link opens in a new windowContains the full text of over 1,000 encyclopedias, dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, and other reference books covering all major subject areas. Thousands of Topics Pages provide articles from different reference sources, arranged by subject. Includes “gadgets” for finding images, definitions, people, pronunciations, quotations, and measurement conversations, as well as a concept map feature for help identifying keywords and broadening or narrowing a topic. Additional features include videos, maps, and animations.
Gale Ebooks This link opens in a new windowContains the full text of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources. Subjects covered include arts, biography, business, education, environment, history, law, literature, medicine, multicultural studies, government and political science, religion, science, and social sciences.
Print Reference Sources
Print reference books on a wide range of subjects are located in the Luria Library reference section. Ask a librarian for help finding the best book for your topic.
Credo Video: How to Narrow Your Topic
The following video provides strategies for narrowing a topic (from off campus you will need to log in using your Pipeline username and password):