ANTH 108 Food, Drink and Culture

Browse Topics and Get Background Info to Start Your Research

Social Science Resources

Browse through the tabs above to explore topic ideas in the social sciences.

Searching Gale eBooks

Browse the academic encyclopedia collection GVRL for good topic ideas

Search Tips

Strategy 1: 

Type in a broad idea, such as masculinity, intersectionality, family, or criminal justice and browse the list of titles and topics returned.

  • Select Subjects from the filters on the right and browse the list of related and subtopics. 
  • Open articles to explore possible ideas for your research project.
    • Notice the encyclopedia title the article is in. That may give you an indication of its focus.
    • Remember to keep a Social Science focus.

(Click on images below to enlarge)GVRL - explore subtopics

Strategy 2:

Type in a more focused search and browse the results for ideas.

  • Example: incarceration AND families OR children.

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GVRL-incarceration AND families OR children


Strategy 3:

Click on Gale eBooks at the top of the database page. This takes you to the encyclopedia level. Limit to Social Science on the left and then browse titles and ideas there.

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Social Sciences Subject Browse in GVRL

Searching CQ Researcher

  • In CQ Researcher, look for the option to "Browse reports by topic" on the menu at the top of the page

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image of a menu in CQ researcher showing different topics to search

Searching Opposing Viewpoints

Search Tips

  • In Opposing Viewpoints, you have the option to look at larger, broad topics. Instead of searching the large search box at top, scroll down to see the list of issues, or topics. 

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screenshot of database page showing how to choose a broad topic to be shown a list of related narrow topics

Additional Current Issues Databases 

Holman Library logo

Holman Library One Search 

Use One Search to explore topic ideas and issues. This can be a great way to take a starting interest and find a focus. 

Type in a search term and browse the results to get a sense of some of the issues addressed on your starting concept. 

  • Peruse titles in the results list for ideas
  • Use Subject limiters on the left to find subtopics

Searching Debate-Focused Websites

  • You can easily browse through larger topics on the website

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screenshot of the ProCon website showing a list of topics, or issues

  • This debate database, Debateabase, is a good way to look for controversial topics in today's world. Use the link below to access the website and see a list of topics

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image of an article from the database mentioned

Searching Online

  • Explore the resources below for some great current issues in the social sciences. This is just a sampling of sources.
  • You'll find a Google Search box at the bottom of the list if you'd like to explore more widely.
Google Web Search

Why Start with Background Info?

Why Start with Background Information?

An overview of your broad topic area helps you "explore the conversation" by looking at different viewpoint from a non-judgmental standpoint.  You can learn the following:

  • what the key issues are and how you may want to refine your topic
  • who are the stakeholders (the groups or individuals this topic concerns)
  • a context of how your topic relates to the other issues that surround it
  • a historical perspective on your topic
  • specialized vocabulary or search words that are used in your field (you will use these words for searches later in your research process)

Search and Use Background Info (Reference) Effectively

How to Use a Reference Article Effectively

  • First, find important words or concepts (see highlighted words in image below)
  • Then use those as search words to find other books, journals, videos and websites

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Graphic showing how to pull ideas and keywords out of an article

Reference Books Through Google Books

  1. First, click on the image below for tips on finding reference books (encyclopedias and handbooks) through Google Books

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image of an advanced search page in Google Books

  1. Then, click below to perform your search.

How to Effectively Read a Reference Article

Highlight Key Concepts

  • First, find important words or concepts (see highlighted words in example below)
  • Then use those as search words to find other books, journals, videos and websites

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GVRL Global Warming reference article