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I recommend that you do some searching and reading prior to deciding on a topic. Selecting a topic and formulating your research question takes research.
At this stage, focus on exploring vs. selecting sources right away.
Think of a question to address for your assignment, and then do some pre-searching and reading. The literature may not address your topic in the way you initially conceived. You will need to adjust or deepen your question as you learn more about your topic.
Based on your pre-searching and reading, decide on your direction. This ensures you have something tangible to work with throughout the semester.
Continue searching for information and select the sources that will help you frame the major themes in your essay.
PIcking Your Topic IS Research
North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries, 3:10
Mapping Your Research Question
Use this video to start thinking about topics of interest. You will be occasionally asked to stop the video to conduct your brainstorming. (UCLA Libraries, 2:52)
Scan Information Sources for Inspiration
Explore information sources to generate ideas for your own research. These sources include both free web source and subscription databases.
Includes Ethnic NewsWatch: A History. Full text access to U.S. ethnic community newspapers, newsletters, magazines. Includes African-American, Arab/Middle Eastern, Asian-Pacific, European-American, Hispanic, Jewish, Native-American. Searchable in English and Spanish.
Dates vary. Full-text content of more than 600 U.S. newspapers and 700 international sources. Local, regional and world news, including community events, schools, politics, government policies, cultural activities, local companies, state industries, and people.
NewsBank's Special focus on topics of current interest. They include content from sources throughout the world to provide a global perspective, current and background information, statistics, maps, images, websites, and suggested search terms.
Provides access to a full-text database of over 15,000 sources including newspapers, journals, wire services, newsletters, company reports and SEC filings, case law, government documents, and selected reference works. Previously LexisNexis Academic.
1985 - present. Provides access to the five most respected US national and regional newspapers: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Content is available by 8am each day and archives contain coverage as far back as 1985.
Covers contemporary social issues and provides articles, primary source documents, court-case overviews, statistical data, images, and podcasts that help students explore issues from multiple perspectives.
Provides access to popular magazines available through the UC Merced Library. Accessible via web browser or the Flipster app which allows you to save issues and download magazines to read offline. For details on accessing & using Flipster, visit the Flipster Library Guide.
The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan research organization which conducts social science research on issues, attitudes, and trends shaping the world. Areas of research interest include U.S. politics, media & news, social trends, religion, internet & tech, science, Hispanics, and global topics.
ProCon.org provides statements for and against 50+ controversial issues. Issues can be browsed by category or searched. The intent of ProCon.org is to present controversial issues in a nonpartisan way. Donors to ProCon.org are made public.
The Brookings Institute is a public policy organization in Washington, DC. with over 300 contributors. Different viewpoints are represented for the following topics: foreign policy, economics, development, governance, and metropolitan policy. Policy recommendations may be included.
Search over 250 dictionaries and reference titles covering the complete subject spectrum: from General Reference and Language to Science and Medicine, and from Humanities and Social Sciences to Business and Professional.