This is the "Selecting a Topic" page of the "Introduction to Library Research" guide.
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Introduction to Library Research   Tags: getting_started, help, writing  

This guide provides help in getting started on a research project. It covers topic selection, finding resources, evaluating sources, writing tips and more. It includes a virtual tour of Trexler Library
Last Updated: Nov 8, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Selecting a Topic Print Page

Hot Topics

For current sources on controversial topics, you can consult:

Electronic source:

Issues and Controversies

Book series in the Trexler Library collection:


Searching the Web for Editorials, Opinions & Viewpoints

National Center for Policy Analysis - "The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and
control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector."

IssueLab - "IssueLab archives research about social issues, shares it with a broader audience, and advocates for the use of open licenses and open access standards in the nonprofit sector."

 TED: Ideas worth sharing.  Scroll to the bottom half of the page and check out the TED Conversations.  They tend to discuss topics of current interest.

Debatepedia - "a project of the 501c3 non-profit International Debate Education Association (IDEA), (this site brings together) arguments and quotes found in editorials, op-eds, political statements, and books into comprehensive pro/con articles." Endorsed by the National Forensic League.

The Week - this site is updated daily to list the current weekly news.


The Book Shelf

Cover Art
Perspectives on Argument - Nancy V. Wood
Call Number: PE1431 .W66 2007
ISBN: 0131729993
The purpose of this book, as stated in the preface, "is to teach students strategies for critical reading, critical thinking, research, and writing that will help them participate in all types of argument, both inside and outside of the classroom. A basic assumption is that argument exists everywhere and that students need to learn to participate productively in all forms of argument, including those they encounter in school, at home, on the job, and in the national and international spheres. Such participation is critical not only in a democratic society but also in a global society, in which issues become more and more complex each year."


Choosing your topic

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Popular Magazines with Viewpoints

The following magazines are noted for their news and opinions.  The titles are listed according to their "liberal" or "conservative" point of view.  All are available in full-text, either through one of our subscription databases or in the library journal collection in the stacks on the first floor.  Following each title is the list of sources you can use to retrieve the full-text article.


Contemporary Review   (Academic Search Premier)

Dissent   (Academic Search Premier)

Monthly Review   (Academic Search Premier)

Mother Jones   (Academic Search Premier)

Nation   (Academic Search Premier &/or Paper copy in the Library)

New Republic    (Academic Search Premier, Business Source Elite, Paper copy in the Library)

New Statesman   (Academic Search Premier, Business Source Elite) 

Progressive   (Academic Search Premier)

Tikkun   (Academic Search Premier)

Washington Monthly   (Academic Search Premier, Business Source Elite)



American Enterprise     (Business Source Elite 1994 to 2006)

American Spectator    (Academic Search Premier)

Commentary     (Academic Search Premier)

First Things     (Academic Search Premier)

Human Events    (Academic Search Premier)

Modern Age     (Academic Search Premier, Professional Development Collection, Paper copy in the Library)

National Interest     (Academic Search Premier)

National Review     (Academic Search Premier, Paper copy in the Library)

New Criticism     (Academic Search Premier)

Policy Review     (Academic Search Premier)

World     (Newspaper Source)


Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

Search Oxford English Dictionary


Internet Research Tools

Visuwords - This search tool allows users to look up words and find their meanings and their relationships with other words.  This is another handy tool to use when you are just starting your research.


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