Need ideas for a topic?

Try scanning news sites, including sub categories to see if anything jogs an interest:

New York Times

Los Angeles Times

Washington Post

Need a basic overview?

Try reading a wikipedia entry, introduction chapter to a book, or news article for a good, basic overviews that help you think about where to go next.  For example, if you are interested in women in the military, you might read the wikepedia entry learn about pieces of key legislation that you want to focus on that will help your ideas become more focused.  Then, use what you have learned to run a new search in a library database to find sources that you can cite in your paper.

Do you have a vague idea for a topic but you don’t know where to go next?

Read more!  Often, the best ideas come after you know a little more about your topic.  Scan a few pages of results after you run a search.  Try to keep a list of the major conversations surrounding your topic.  This will help you know which conversation you want to enter and what narrower subtopics exist.

For example, if you run a search in the library database, Academic Search Premier for women in the military, scanning the first page of results reveals narrower conversations relating to subtopics, such asthe history of women in war, injuries experienced by women in war, eating disorders among women in the military, and women in the military who experience sexual trauma.

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