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How Can I Find a Topic?
Choose a topic that really interests you, and your research will be more enjoyable.
Having trouble thinking of a topic to research? Here are some ideas to help:
- Scan your textbooks for broad topic ideas.
- Read current magazines and newspapers to see what catches your eye. Paper copies are located on the 4th floor of the Library, and electronic versions are available full text in many of our online databases.
- Browse print and electronic encyclopedias.
- Talk to a librarian, your professor, or a friend about ideas.
- Search our Hot Topic Databases in the box below.
Hot Topic Databases
Opposing Viewpoints in Context
Information is available on a wide range of social issues, including access to full-text magazine and newspaper articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, images, and websites. Click on the "Browse Issues" tab near the top of the page for topic ideas.
Points of View Reference Center
This full-text database is designed to provide students with a series of essays that present multiple sides of a current issue. The database contains hundreds of topics, each with an Overview, Point, Counterpoint, and Critical Analysis.
Broadening Your Topic
To broaden a topic that you are not finding enough information about, consider these options:
- Expand the time period that you are examining.
- Open up the geographic location. For example, do not limit your research to New York State but include other states as well.
- Extend your research to a larger population group. For example, do not limit your research to children but include adults as well.
- Compare and contrast your topic with another topic.
Narrowing Your Topic
To narrow down a topic that is too broad or unwieldy, consider these questions:
- What is the time period of your research? For example, are you researching the last two years, the 18th century, or a comparison of the 1960s and the 1990s?
- What is the geographic location of your research? For example, are you researching the Western Hemisphere, New York State, or Niagara County?
- On what aspect of your topic will you focus? For example, are you researching the social, psychological, legal, medical, or economic aspects of an issue?
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