ENGL 101 English Composition 1

A collection of resources for assignments commonly seen in ENGL&101 at Green River College.

Browse Topics Online for Current Issues

Searching for Topics in the News

Newspapers are ripe with researchable topics! Headlines can generate topics or you can dig deeper for an issue that interests you.  Use the links below to find news articles to get ideas for topics.

Using Gale Ebooks to narrow a topic

Searching Background Information

Find a wealth of informative articles on a wide range of research topics in the online academic reference collection, Gale Ebooks (formerly called Gale Virtual Reference Library) This is also a great tool for generating topic ideas.

Sample search

As shown in the image below, you can see how to search using basic keywords. Start with a broad topic and see what results come up.

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keyword search in gale


Once you see a list of results, take note of the topic of the larger subject-specific encyclopedia the shorter article comes from. This will give you a little more information about how the topic will be discussed.

  • Use the limiters on the right side of the screen to narrow the results by larger subject area
  • Or try searching for specific words inside the articles themselves; this is a quick way to narrow your results to relevant articles as well.

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search results and limiters off to the right

Browsing By Subject 

You can search by keyword in this database, but you can also search for any topic and find a list of articles related to a topic. Take a look at the search sample and notes below for more info.

Sample Search

From the page that opens when you open the database, select the "Subject Guide Search" option

  • Type in a topic or keyword here
  • Notice the results below connect you to a range of topics that are related to the words you've searched. This can be a great way to expand a topic to see how it has been discussed and was sub-areas of discussion might arise from it. It can help you to narrow in on your topic.

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Subject Guide search

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Subject search results showing related topics

Browsing topics in argumentative articles

Finding a Topic

There's no shortage of arguable topics in the world, and  databases are great places to look for topics.

Two of the library's databases, CQ Researcher and Opposing Viewpoints provide excellent topic lists as shown in the images and instructions below.

Browsing topics in CQ Researcher

As shown in the image below, you can find topic ideas in this database by taking the following steps:

  • Browse topic ideas by general area using the "Browse Topics" option on the menu.
    • From there, you can click on a topic for more specific sub-topics and see reports.
  • You can also use the "Hot Topics" list to the right and browse through reports

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screenshot of the CQ Researcher database search page, pointing to the option to search by topic rather than just searching by a keyword. Here you can see a list of topics

Browsing topics in Opposing Viewpoints

As shown in the image below, you can find topic ideas in this database by taking the following steps:

  • Select "Issues" from the menu at the top of the Opposing Viewpoints homepage. From there, you should see a list of many possible "arguable topics"

(click in image to enlarge)screenshot of the database page showing to click on "broswe issues" from the menu near the top

Finding topics in online & print encyclopedias

Print encyclopedias like this one, Social Issues in America, are a great way to identify controversial topics. Find the following volumes in the library or click on the book above to go to the ebook version.

  • v. 1. Abortion and reproductive issues - Campaign finance reform
  • v. 2. Cancer - Disability rights 
  • v. 3. Divorce and child custody - Gun violence and gun control 
  • v. 4. Hate crimes - Media consolidation 
  • v. 5. Media sex and violence -- Pornography
  • v. 6. Poverty and wealth - Superstores vs. Main Street
  • v. 7. Sweatshops - Xenophobia and Nativism
  • v. 8. Index

Using Global Warrior

Using Global Road Warrior

This database is a fun one to search! When you need to know more about a specific country, it's people, cultures, currency, government systems, and more - this is the database for you! 

A sample search:

As shown in the images below, you can search for info on over 170 countries, or use the interactive map to get access to a country profile.

(click on image to enlarge)Database homepage

Looking at the results:

Once you pick a country, you can select a range of topics as outlined in the images below.

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country overview article

Search tips:
  •  In the image just above, notice that you can get an MLA or APA citation for the articles you view. 
  • Note the expanding menu on the left-hand side of an article. You can search through a variety of topics such as the country's climate, government system, culture, education systems, and more.

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expanding menu with subtopics