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When you are assigned to a write a paper and have to choose the topic, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by ideas or completely at a loss. Thankfully, the Rutgers Libraries provide resources to help you choose and narrow your research topic.
The resources on this page will assist you in gathering background information and refining your topic.
- Review "Background Information" to identify a potential topic of interest.
- Complete the tutorial, "Choosing a Topic."
- Watch the video, "How to Narrow Your Topic."
- Complete the "Search Term Development" worksheet.
The following sources are useful to identify topics, overviews, background information, concepts, theories, ideas, and key references:
Access World News
- Covers newspapers and news wires across the world.
- Full-text, weekly topical reports.
- Focuses on topics considered newsworthy or issues of broad interest to the general public.
- Covers newspapers; magazines; trade journals; newsletters; and television and radio transcripts focusing on business.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
- Includes topical overviews; essays; book chapters; primary documents; specialized encyclopedia articles; and other sources.
Sage eReference Encyclopedias
- Includes specialized encyclopedia articles written by experts in the respective topical areas.
- Good source for background information; overviews; references; terms; and ideas for topics.
- Access one of many subject encyclopedias available through Rutgers University Libraries.
Search Term Development
Using the attached "Search Term Development" worksheet:
- Review the example provided (page 1)
- Develop your own topic using your paper topic and the blank page (page 2)
Tutorial: Choosing a Topic