ENGL 101 English Composition 1 (Modzelewski)

Topic Exploration

Browse for Ideas in an Academic Encyclopedia Collection

Explore ideas in GVRL three ways. 

Strategy I: Type in a starting idea and browse through titles and related subjects for topic ideas.

Strategy 2. Select an interesting encyclopedia and browse for topic ideas.

Strategy 3. Explore topic guides. 

Strategy I: 

As shown in the image below, you can type in words for an idea that interests you. 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
  • Look over titles for subtopics

Or try searching for specific words inside the articles themselves; this is a quick way to narrow your results to relevant articles as well.

Strategy II: 

Step 1: Click on Gale eBooks in the header.

Gale ebooks header

Step 2: Select a collection subject that interests you.

GVRL Collections

Step 3: Choose an encyclopedia to browse by clicking on the cover. Use the index to explore topics.

encyclopedia index for ideas

Strategy III: Browse Subject Guides

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

Current Issues Databases

Whether you are writing an informative essay in which you don't take a stand on an issue or you are writing an argument on the issue, current issues are interesting to research and write about.

Browse for topic ideas in the current issues databases 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