Browse these databases to learn general information about a variety of issues, controversies, and current debates. Check out a few topics that interest you and explore the information about them as you decide on a topic for further research. Use the Analyze Your Topic section below to gather background information and learn more about the issue. This will help you decide how to narrow your topic, as well as inform future research.
Think about who might be involved. This could be specific people, but it could also be groups of people - consider different groups based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status (wealth), who may be affected (good or bad) by your topic.
Consider what factors are involved in your topic. Read some background information or a summary to learn more about your topic, and then make a list of relevant factors.
The background reading can also provide you with keywords, specialized vocabulary, and definitions, which will be useful for future searches.
What time period is involved? Are you considering present day, current time? or are you going back in history to look at a time period long ago. Be sure you know what dates and times are involved in your topic because that will affect how you write about them. Your topic may have specific dates associated with it or it may be more general.
Sometimes places or geography are important to your topic. Are you considering issues in the United States or another country? The situation can be quite different in some countries than it is here.
This is a really important one. Why do people care about this topic? Why is it important or controversial? What's at stake? or Why did it happen / is it happening?