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Research: Select and Develop a Topic: Finding Topic Ideas

Here are tips for a successful research project

Where to get topic ideas

Get ideas from:

  • Your own life experiences
  • Movies or TV shows you have watched
  • Reading a current newspaper or popular magazine
  • Your course textbook
  • Reference books
  • Library databases

Use Library Databases for Topic Ideas

The Library subscribes to databases that will help you with your topic selection. Use these databases to discover relevant keywords as you proceed to search and gather materials on your topic.

  • Britannica Academic.  Great source for topic overviews and discovering useful keywords for further research.  You can also use this database to search an Internet directory that includes more than 300,000 links to Web sites selected, rated, and reviewed by Britannica editors.
  • Gale eBooks. Gale eBooks is a database of encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.
  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context.  Get ideas for current, trending topics that may be of interest to you. Discover articles and statistics within the database that you can read and cite in your final report.
  • CQ Researcher. Access in-depth, balanced, analytical reporting on current and controversial topics. Topics features comments from experts, lawmakers and citizens, numerous graphs and sidebar articles, a pro-con feature, a chronology, lengthy bibliographies and a list of contacts. Coverage: 1923-present.

Website: TED Talks

Visit the website  Ted Talks

TED conferences bring together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). Explore a wide range of very interesting topics.


Still need help?

  • You can always check back with your professor if you need clarification on your assignment.
  • Don't hesitate to ask the librarian if you need help selecting or narrowing your topic.

Coulter Library, Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, NY