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Deciding on a topic can be one of the toughest parts of writing a research paper. The resources on this page can help start the brainstorming process. You can also look for background information in the books or article databases mentioned below.
Ask Yourself ....
Ask yourself the following questions about your topic to make sure you've picked a topic that will keep both yourself and your audience (those reading your paper) engaged. If you can answer yes to all the questions, you're ready to start gathering sources. Source
Am I interested in the topic?
Will I enjoy researching this topic?
Will I enjoy talking about this topic and sharing my information with my readers?
Will my readers be interested in my topic?
Am I passionate about this topic?
You can also use the resources below to browse for topics.
Direct link to the newspaper section of ProQuest. Includes Alt-Press Watch, Ethnic NewsWatch, GenderWatch, Latin American Newsstand, Canadian Newsstand Complete, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Times of London, and The Tennessean.
All current Vanderbilt University students, faculty, and staff have access, both on and off campus.
Pro and con articles on important social, political, and economic issues. Reference articles that provide context, magazines, newspapers, primary source documents, government and organizational statistics, and links.
Browse this list of online encyclopedias - subjects range from the humanities to social sciences to medicine & health.
Concept mapping, or mind mapping, is a great way to plan your research. Use it to brainstorm keywords, and to keep track of the databases you've tried or want to search. Most online tools allow maps to be saved or emailed. The map below is an example template for a research paper.
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