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Finding Research Topics

Ellender Memorial Library’s Online Public Access Catalog is called eLibrary. To search for our series of helpful books on controversial topics, simply click on the link to Power Search from the library’s homepage. Because this particular search is a complex search, you are better off using the Power Search. To isolate our entire series of books on controversies, run a Title search for this phrase:opposing viewpoints. This will isolate a series of 236 books that the library owns in the Opposing Viewpoints Series, and their topics range from the death penalty, to the homeless, to juvenile crime, to teenage sexuality. If you have a specific subject in mind, and you wish to see which Opposing Viewpoints books we have on that subject, combine a Word or Phrase search with the Title search. For example, you can search as follows:

Word or Phrase=education AND Title=opposing viewpoints
The above search returned 4 hits. The important thing to remember is that searching effectively involves coming up with a search strategy, and that strategy will probably involve using various synonyms and similar terms to maximize effectiveness. So you may substitute schools oruniversities for the term education.


Websites That Offer Topic Suggestions

If you wish to go beyond the eLibrary search for Opposing Viewpoints topics, you may decide to search the web for educational institutions that have posted research topics on one or more of their pages. Our suggestion would be for you to go to Google, the web’s most efficient search engine, and type in the following, spaces and quotation marks included:

“research paper” topics suggestions site:.eduThis will return some 16,000 hits, but by adding more terms to your search, such as “gun control”, you will get fewer hits.

We’ve done you the favor of finding a couple of sites that offer topic suggestions. This is a preliminary list and it will grow as time permits, so keep checking back for updates. Our suggested sites, as of April 14, 2014, are as follows:

Using News Sources to Find Topics
The other method you can use to find topics, especially if you are looking for contemporary issues, is searching news sources. You can begin by hitting websites that offer links to various newspapers and news sources, such as NSU’s Newspaper LinksRefDesk.com’s Listing of National and International NewspapersThe Newseum Graphical Listing of Today’s Front Pages, or theNewsday.com Associated Press Hourly Update. You can also try Topix, a news service that allows you to search by topic, or run a News search on Google. Finally, you can search Lexis Nexis Academic through our Electronic Research Databases page.

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