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Understanding the Research Assignment

Consider the following steps before you begin your research:

  • Has a topic already been assigned or have you selected a topic?
  • What do you already know about the subject?
  • How much information do you need? Is your assignment a five minute speech or a ten page paper?
  • What kind of information do you need? Scholarly research or general interest? Does your instructor want you to use print resources, online resources or both?
If your instructor hasn't already assigned a research topic, you may want to use the following resources to help your search. Remember, choose a topic that interests you!

Databases:

  • CQ Researcher -- This database covers current hot social and political issues such as the economy, education, environment, health, international affairs, science and technology.
  • Newstand -- This database covers more than 450 U.S. and international newspapers. Browsing or searching this database may help you select a research topic.

Books:

  • Opposing Viewpoints -- A popular series that explores controversial subjects, including health care and foreign policy.
  • At Issue -- Another resource that discusses hot topics such as religion, politics and capital punishment.

Periodicals:

If your still not sure what research topic you would like to focus on, visit the Lovejoy Library's periodicals collection on the 2nd floor. Here you can flip through hundreds of scholarly journals and popular periodicals, including Law and Society Review, New Yorker, Politics and Society and the International Journal on World Peace.

This is only a suggested list of possible resources that may help you select a research topic. If you need further assistance, ask a librarian!

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