Shatford Library

Shatford Library

Selecting Topics: Using Shatford Library Databases

1.  Select Your Topic.  Its oK to Browse!

Selecting a topic for your research paper or speech is one of the most difficult steps in the research process.  Consider using these Library databases to help you find a topic that interests you.

  • SIRS Knowledge Source  Articles from popular magazines, newspapers, U.S. government publications and selected websites. Use the tab at the top for “Topic Browse” or Pro/Con “more issues
  • Opposing Viewpoints Focus is on social issues. Includes opinion articles, pro/con, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, full-text periodical articles and selected websites.  Select from the list of popular topics or search the subject guide.
  • CQ Researcher Focus on controversial issues with summaries, background, opinions, bibliographies and more. Use the Pro/Con, Browse by Topic or Issue Tracker on the left. 
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2. Define the Issue

Define the issue and identify your main concepts and keywords.
Brainstorm a list of synonyms, related words and phrases for your topic.

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3. Broaden Your Knowledge

Learn more about your topic. Use these resources for background knowledge:

Access from Library website:

  • PCC Library Catalog (Books, reference books and media)
  • Encyclopedia Britannica Online
    Provides great background articles on topics as well as links to legitimate web resources.
  • Proquest
    Thousands of journal, magazine, and newspaper articles covering all disciplines.
    Also includes a Topic Guide and Cite This tool.
  • Don’t just Google, try: Internet Public Library  (links to selected information websites)

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4. Cite Your Sources!

Example citations and formating requirements are provided by these sites:

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last updated: 07/06/2011 by P. Johnson revision #3