Tuesday, January 28, 2014

From the Reference Desk: Writing a Research Paper: Picking a Topic



Starting a research paper can appear to be a daunting task to many students, especially when you don’t know what to write about! Here are two databases that may help you pick topics that will interest you and, in turn, help you earn the grade you desire -- CQ Researcher and Credo Reference both offer considerable support to students in search of an excellent research topic.
  
Credo promotes knowledge building, problem solving and critical thinking to give people the information skills necessary for success throughout their academic, professional and personal lives.” 

Credo Reference, found by under the  “C” tab in Databases A-Z, is not only an excellent database for basic informative searches but also for picking a research topic. Credo’s "Mind Map" and "Find Topic" Pages tabs are great tools to use when finding a topic is becoming a chore and a headache. By using the "Mind Map" tab students are able to connect concepts by simply entering an idea, or interesting subject matter into the search bar. The "Mind Map" allows for connections to be made between ideas that can then be zoomed in or out, to either broaden or narrow a result finding.  The "Find Topic Pages" tab allows students to search various categories and then displays topic pages that are affiliated to the chosen category. 

CQ Researcher is “noted for its in-depth, unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the economy.”

CQ Researcher, found again under the “C” tab in Databases A-Z, utilizes a "Hot Topics" and "Most Viewed" margin to aid in the selection of a research topic. Popular subjects include climate change, health care and immigration. Students can also take advantage of the "Browse Topics" tab or the "Featured Report of the Day." Perhaps what makes CQ Researcher most ideal for a frustrated, possibly hurried student are its simple and well organized reports, an available chronology, and the related reports given on the right of the screen.

While these two databases are can be very helpful in finding a topic for your upcoming essay, you have access to several more databases through the library website like TOPICsearch, Points of View Reference Center, Research Starters: Education and Research Starters: Sociology.  You can also access the Jarrett Library Research Guide on Basic Library Research and Selecting a Topic

- by Kayla Milligan, Library Associate for Reference

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