Sources for Finding Topics

Here is a short list:

  • A textbook. Textbooks introduce a topic to non-specialists and generally include a bibliography of books and articles consulted. A good chapter can provide an overview and the bibliography can point to more information.

  • Encyclopedias. A general encyclopedia covers the entire range of human knowledge in brief. A search for a basic concept recalls every mention of that concept in the encyclopedia, indicating different contexts for it and some of the fields of study that have explored it.

  • Subject Encyclopedias cover the knowledge base of a single discipline in brief. A search here can familiarize you with some of the different contexts within which your topic has been discussed in a discipline.

  • Periodical Indexes. Searching a simple term in a general periodical database like Academic Search Premier retrieves articles from magazines and journals that include your topic. This will give you a chance to see what's being written on your topic in magazines like Time, Sports Illustrated, or Psychology Today, and journals like Communication Quarterly, Journal of Sociology, or Urban Studies.

  • Hot topic Web sites

    Hot Paper Topics

    Controversial and Current Issues (University of Southern Indiana)

    CQ Researcher



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