ENGL 128 Research Writing: Science, Engineering and Business

This guide will help students complete research writing assignments for English 128.

Starting with an idea

Explore Topic Ideas

Research papers often start with an interest or broad idea.

As you read and learn, you will refine your topic focus and develop research questions to answer in your essay.

Use resources on this page to help you find and focus a researchable topic for the quarter.

  • NOTE: Be sure your topic meets your assignment requirements!

Explore Topic Ideas in Databases in Holman Library

Browse topics in CQ Researcher

Look through topics in this database by clicking on "Browse Reports by Topic"

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Screenshot of the "Browse Topic" section of CQ Researcher

Explore topics in Opposing Viewpoints In Context

IBy scrolling down on the homepage of this database, you are given the option to choose a larger category to browse through, rather than just searching by keyword as shown in the image below.

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screenshot of the database page showing how to click on "browse issues" from the menu near the top of the page

Browse through topics in Gale eBooks

When you go to this database, you'll see the advanced search page. However, by clicking on the larger "Gale Ebooks" title in the upper left, you can be taken to a page where you can see all the collections in the database listed out by subject. As shown in the image below, you can easily look through the listings of subjects off to the left to browse through subject-specific encyclopedias.

GVRL has collections on business, environment, medicine, science, and technology.

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screenshot of the Gale Ebooks page showing how to search by larger topic by choosing "browse collections"

OR ... Search a topic to explore more focused subtopics

As in this search shown in the image below for the broad topic: "green economy":

(click on image to enlarge). 

database search box showing a search for "green economy"


Browse Article Titles and the Subjects List for ways to focus your search results

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Search results showing ways to limit within the results.

Find a topic on the Pro/Con website

Search Controversial Issues at ProCon.org

As shown in the image below, this website is a great one for looking at both sides of a controversial topic. Search by keyword, or look through the lists of current and common topics to view articles.

(click on image enlarge)

this is a screenshot of the homepage of procon.org

Sample Broad Topic Ideas

General Topic Ideas


Hybrid Cars

Renewable energy

Alternative energy

Internet taxation

Retail Store Security


Genetically Modified Organisms

Dark Chocolate and Depression

Down's Syndrome

Plastic Surgery

Antibiotics Overuse

Concussions in Athletics

Fluoride in Water Supply

Artificial Wetland Management

Hidden Costs of Self-Employment

Bamboo Flooring

Endangered Species


Software Piracy

Organ Cloning

Cell Phones and Health Effects

Vitamin C and Cancer

Drone Technology

Aluminum and Breast Cancer

Internet Security

Housing Costs, Boom and Bust Cycle

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.

All Library Research Guides

Holman Library Databases by Subject