"Topics" menu below
Basic Pointers
Topic Browsing
Asking a Question
Selecting KeyWords & Concepts
Broadening/Narrowing Vocabulary



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
    Cover 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, Ms., or Scientific American, and journals like Communication Quarterly, Nature, or Harvard Law Review.

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