|Deciding on a topic for an essay, speech, or some other assignment can sometimes be overwhelming. The library has several resources that can help generate or spark ideas to write about.|
These three databases are a good place to start when trying to decide on a topic or understand various arguments surrounding a topic.
If your topic is too broad, you may get too much information that you will have to sort through.
If it is too narrow, you may not find the information that you need. For example:
Let's say you decided your topic will be the environment
Just environment? - Too broad!! There are so many aspects of the environment.
What do you want to know about it, and why do you choose that topic? Your answers may help you to focus or narrow it down. Are you interested in pollution, water issues, social issues, political issues. anthropological or artistic issues, etc.
When trying to narrow down your topic, it may help to think of the 5 Ws:
OK. You say "nature". So natural environment? Environment and nature? What aspects of nature do you wish to research? Oh, OK. You were reading Henry Thoreau's Walden. But, you are still not sure of an exact topic even though you want to include Thoreau in your nature research. How about considering today's issues of global warming with that of Thoreau's years?
Why are keywords important? When searching library databases, or even Google, using Keywords rather than complete sentences will help you find information faster and more effectively. Using concise keywords can save lots of time rather than going through irrelevant results! Once you have good keywords, you can use those to search for print and ebooks available through the library, articles in journals, magazines, newspapers, videos, and more.