Help Helpchoosingatopic

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Help Helpchoosingatopic

  1. 1. Gill Library College of New Rochelle Research Paper Workshop: CHOOSING A TOPIC By Ana E. Fontoura, MLS, MS Electronic Resources Librarian
  2. 2. CHOOSING A TOPIC Choose a topic that interests you! i.e. something that fascinates you, worries you, is important to you. Remember: if you are not bored, you’ll take greater interest in reading and writing about your topic! Is this topic relevant to the course? Is this topic researchable? Is it doable? Can you find enough information on it?
  3. 3. IDEAS FOR TOPICS:  Topics mentioned in class or suggested by your instructor  Topics that are in your textbook  Browse current issues of journals in the subject area of your course. (Consult the Journal List at the Gill Library or ask the Reference Librarian for titles)  Consider current topics in the news
  4. 4. LIBRARY SOURCES FOR CHOOSING TOPICS:  Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics Ref. Oversize BJ 63 .E44 1998  CQ Researcher Ref. Oversize H 35 .E35 Also available online  Encyclopedia of Bioethics Ref. Oversize QH 332. E52 1995  Opposing Viewpoints Series  Current Controversies Series  Information Plus
  5. 5. LIBRARY ONLINE CATALOG  Search the library catalog for key series for topics. Here’s how: 1. Select “Catalog” from the Library homepage 2. Using a Keyword index, type “Opposing Viewpoints” (or other words for other series) 3. Click “Search”. The list of all books in the series will be displayed.
  6. 6. NARROWING YOUR TOPIC  Avoid overly broad topics.  Think of the many aspects of the topic being considered and its impact on other areas of study. Then you are ready to select a single aspect or focused topic to use. i.e.: DIVORCE is an overly broad topic. Psychological EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON CHILDREN is a more focused topic. i.e.: AIDS is an overly broad topic. TREATMENT methods and AIDS patients is a more focused search. HINT: You know your search is overly broad when typing the term in a periodical database retrieves a huge number of results!
  7. 7. BASIC BACKGROUND INFORMATION SOURCES If you know little or nothing about your topic, it is useful to obtain basic background information. Here are some suggested sources: CQ Researcher (Ref Oversize H 35 .E35) Use this excellent source to begin research on current topics. This weekly publication covers the more current and controversial issues of the day with complete summaries, insight into all sides of the issues, bibliographies and more. CQ Researcher is also available online at the library’s database webpage. It is listed as CQ Electronic Library (Congressional Quarterly)
  8. 8. BASIC BACKGROUND INFORMATION SOURCES (cont.) Information Plus Obtain the list of Library held items in this series. Follow the same instructions as “choosing your topic”. Each volume has a historical and current analysis of the topic as well as detailed statistics, graphs and charts. Current Controversies Obtain the list of Library held items in this series; follow the same instructions as “choosing your topic”. Book in this series cover today’s most current national and international issues and contain the most important opinions of the past and present.
  9. 9. BASIC BACKGROUND INFORMATION SOURCES (cont.) General Encyclopedias Use general encyclopedias for an overview of your topic. Try the following encyclopedias: * The New Encyclopedia Britannica (Ref Oversize AE 5 .E363 1997) * Encyclopedia Americana (Ref Oversize AE 5 .E333 1994) General Database Academic Search Premier
  10. 10. BASIC BACKGROUND INFORMATION SOURCES (cont.) Narrow the focus by using subject specific encyclopedias. Some examples of subject specific sources in Reference are as follows: * Encyclopedia of Psychology (Ref Oversize BF 31 .E52 2000) * Encyclopedia of Religion (Ref Oversize BL 31 .E46 1986) * McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (Ref Oversize Q 121 .M3 2002)
  11. 11. BASIC BACKGROUND INFORMATION SOURCES (cont.) HINT: Search the Library Online Catalog to see if there is a subject specific encyclopedia or specialized dictionary for your topic. If you cannot find one, consult the Reference Librarian for help with this item. There are many sources in the Reference Room that may not completely focus on your topic, but may contain a chapter that is relevant to your research.  OTHER HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS: Take a look at the Gill Library’s Internet Resources listed on our homepage. These sites are arranged by subject. You may find some general information on your topic in an appropriate website. Always remember to evaluate your information when searching the web.
  12. 12. Next: Searching the Catalog Searching the Databases Thank you for your attention and good luck with your research! Slide show created by: Ana E. Fontoura, MLIS, MS Electronic Resources Librarian Gill Library College of New Rochelle Updated Nov. 2006

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