Not sure where to start? Use our library databases to find an interesting topic. These databases have lists of topics with helpful overviews and sources.
Library Databases for Choosing a Topic
In Context: Opposing Viewpoints For current and controversial social issues. Pro/Con articles, articles from magazines, academic journals, newspapers; primary source documents, and statistics. Click "Browse Issues" to see a list of topics.
Issues and Controversies Information on current topics in politics, business, crime, law, energy, education, health, science, society, and culture.
CQ Researcher Online In-depth research reports on current and controversial issues. Use "Browse Topics" or "Browse Reports by Date" to see lists of possible topics.
Keep your search simple. Enter basic terms for each aspect of your topic, such as “energy drinks and health.”
Limits – most databases have options to limit your results for a better list. Look for these options:
- Full-text: for quick access to the entire article
- Date: for current results
- Academic/Scholarly journals (some assignments require this)
Evaluate your results. Use the title of the article, the abstract (summary) and the subject terms to decide if the articles will be relevant to your topic. Try different search terms to get better or different results. Ask a Librarian if you need help searching.
To display the full article, click on the PDF icon, the "HTML Full Text" link, or the "Full Text Finder" icon.
Use Worldcat to search for books in other libraries worldwide. Submit Interlibrary Loan requests directly through Worldcat. If you need assistance, please contact us for help.
Citations & Citing Sources
A citation is a detailed description of your source - whether it's a book, an article, a video, a website or a tweet. Example:
Seo, Hannah. “Why Save Dying Languages?” Popular Science, vol. 292, no. 4, Winter
2020, p. 24. Academic Search Complete, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx
The list of these citations is called Bibliography or Works Cited. Style guides show you exactly how to format the list.
Ask your instructor which citation style you should use. MLA and APA are the most common.
Citation Tools in Databases: Most of the library databases have a citation tool that will create a citation for an item. When using the tool, make sure you choose the style that your instructor assigned (MLA, APA, Chicago). These database-generated citations are a fine place to start, but you will need to check the details of the citation using a style guide (MLA, APA).
Consider these tips when using citations from a database:
- Pay attention to capitalization in article titles - it’s different for MLA and APA.
- Correct any titles or names that appear in all capital letters.
- Your instructor may want you to include optional elements such as a URL or "date accessed."