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WAMS Research Guide: Identifying Your Topic/Focus

Tutorials and links to help you navigate the research process successfully.

Useful Resources

Look for possible topics by searching databases:

Link to: WAMS Databases

1. Current or Hot Topics

   - Try EBSCO Points of View database (use link above)

   - Try ABC-CLIO Issues database

   - Try website


2. Environmental Issues/Topics

   - Try SIRS Discoverer or EBSCO Student Research Center databases


3. Topics that are new to you - no prior knowledge

   - Try World Book Student or World Book Advanced (general reference/encyclopedia articles)

   - Try Grolier Online databases (general reference/encyclopedia/multimedia articles)


4. Historical Topics

  - Try ABC-CLIO  American History  database

   - Try Facts on File databases on African-American, American Indian,  American Women, Modern World or Ancient and Medieval history

Purpose of Research

Choosing a Topic

Researching a topic that interests you will result in a more successful experience.  Sometimes a specific topic may be assigned, but at other times you will have to identify your own subject.  Selecting a topic for research requires thought and curiosity.

Here are some steps to guide you in choosing a topic:

  • Think about the goals of the assignment and list some topics of personal interest to you.
  • Skim through your textbooks or nonfiction materials and list topics that interest you.
  • Explore the Media Center resources - books, database articles, eBooks, reference books, DVDs or videos - to find possible topics of interest.
  • Talk to friends, parents, teachers and the media specialist about your research assignment
  • Be original!  Don't select a topic just because a friend is doing the same one or because you already know a lot about a topic.  Take this opportunity to explore something new!