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Controversial Topics / Current Events

Questions to ask yourself about your topic

1. What do you already know about your topic? Answering this may help you decide on keywords to use in your search for books, articles, and websites.

2. What do you want / need to know about your topic?  A good overview of your topic will help you start to understand the multiple aspects and layers of a subject. 

3. Does your topic relate to a specific time period? Do you need historical background? Is your topic currently in the news?  Answering these questions can determine what resources you need to use in your research.

4. Is there a specific dimension of the topic that you want / need to cover?  For example, legal issues, effects on society, psychological aspects, cultural background, statistical analysis, etc.

5. Does your instructor have specific requirements in terms of the information you need and the resulting length of your paper or oral presentation?  Does your instructor require specific types of resources, such as books, scholarly articles, newspaper articles?

Finding Overviews of Topics

Topic overviews:

  • provide background material and historical perspective
  • describe and define topic and related issues
  • provide key terms to use as search terms when looking for books, articles, & relevant websites
  • help you focus or narrow your topic   

For an overview, look for a general or subject-specific encyclopedia, handbook, or dictionary.

  • In OneSearch, search using a key term or phrase describing your topic with "encyclopedias", "handbooks, manuals, etc." or "dictionaries".  For example, try "animal rights encyclopedias" or "obesity handbooks, manuals, etc." 
  • OneSearch includes both online and print books, but if you know you want online only, consider browsing our online reference collections listed below
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