Browsing a general reference resource on some subjects areas that interest you might give you some good ideas.
Read through current newspapers and see what is happening in the news that interests you.
Here are a few places that outline many important social issues.
Need help finding the right search terms to help you broaden or narrow your search?
Now that you know what you're writing about, you need to gather your research. This includes your topic's background, current events, data and statistics, and expert opinion and analysis. For this, there are a variety of different resources we like:
This is where you wrap your head around your topic. Look here to find topic overviews; definitions; and to get a general sense of important events, people, and key concepts.
Here are some place to look for information to understand what how your topic is understood within a bigger picture. This might include: current events, historical context, cultural attitudes, literary themes, scientific perspectives, or political controversies.
Here's where you find information about your topic's bigger impact, how this is an issue that affects something larger and is meaningful in a broad way. This typically means statistics, but might also mean finding many examples from other sources to support your observations.
Because you are making a claim, you need to lean on the credibility of scholars or experts to help support and ground your argument. Here are a number of databases to find peer-reviewed articles on many topics from a variety of subject areas:
For a deeper investigation into your topics, books are always going to be helpful.
Search the Library Catalog
Primo is our main search function. Go here to see all of our books, articles, and more.
Have a specific question?
This guide was developed with the Johnson & Wales University Denver Library and is used with permission.
Using the catalog isn't difficult, but it can be a little tricky.
The materials in the Tri-County Technical College Library are organized so that materials on similar subjects are shelved together. We use the Library of Congress classification system to organize our books. It is used by most research and academic libraries in the United States.
Each item is given a subject heading that corresponds to a call number which identifies the location of the item on a shelf.
Items are arranged on the shelves from left to right, top to bottom, according to call numbers. Call numbers are read in this format:
The keywords you use can have a profound impact on the results of your research. Using the “right” words will speed up the research process, while the “wrong” words can bring to it to a halt.
Before you can begin searching for information, you need to identify keywords related to your topic.
It is common for an initial search to return an overwhelming number of results. Refining the results allows you to identify exactly the most relevant content.
Each database is a little different, but there are a few common ways to limit your search:
After you have chosen one refinement, it is possible to continue to choose additional refinements. The results list will then show only results that meet the criteria for all the selected refinements. In most databases the selected refinements are displayed at the top of the results list. To remove a refinement, you will click on the X near its box. Doing so will start a new search without that refinement.
Your results are sorted by what the database thinks is most relevant to your search. But there are almost always other ways to sort your results. Some of the various sort methods include:
All databases have their own unique features for doing typical search procedures that are worth using to help limit your results. Some of these include:
This guide will help you with the following:
Did you miss the library workshop for your English 101 or 103 class? Are you taking English online? Or do you just need a refresher on how to do research for a paper? Here are videos that tell you about each step of the research process.