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Steps in the Research Process: Finding a Topic

Use this guide to become a more skillful researcher. Learn how to develop research questions, choose credible sources, evaluate your sources, cite them correctly, and avoid plagiarism

Choosing and Developing a Topic

CHOOSING A TOPIC -PURDUE ONLINE WRITING LAB -  provides a good introduction on understanding your assignment and choosing a topic.



Selecting a Topic - Resources

Library Databases
  • CQ Researcher  - Provides researchers with an introductory overview; background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources.
  • ​​Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center  - Covers current social issues. Includes viewpoint articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, links to websites, and full-text magazine and newspaper articles.

  • Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)  - A collection of encyclopedias and handbooks on many subjects. Searchable as a group or individually.

On The Web

  •  - Provides resources for critical thinking and to educate without bias. We research issues that are controversial and important, and we present them in a balanced, comprehensive, straightforward, transparent, and primarily pro-con format at no charge.
  • New York Times Topics Guide - Each topic page collects all the news, reference and archival information, photos, graphics, audio and video files published on topics ranging from A M Castle & Company to Zyuganov, Gennadi A. This treasure trove is available without charge on articles going back to 1981. - is a free online community where intelligent minds from around the world come to debate online and read the opinions of others. Research today’s most controversial debate topics and cast your vote on our opinion polls.

    The Rand Corporation - Topics - The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges tohelp make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and mor prosperous. RAND is non-profit, non-partisan and committed to the public interest.

    PewResearch - Topics -  A detailed listing of Pew Research Center polling and demographic topics and subjects.


Picking a Topic IS Research

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