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ENG 165 - Scandals, Natural Disasters, etc. (Ramsey)

2. Explore Your Topic

After thoroughly examining your assignment, now it's time to look for some initial background research on your topic.  Try a search in the following database to learn more about your topic.

Analyze Your Topic

Magnifying Glass


If you are writing on a person or leader, take note if they have a nickname or other name. For example, Robert F. Kennedy also was known as "Bobby" Kennedy.


Reading a summary to learn more about your topic will help you understand it better. It can also provide you with keywords, specialized vocabulary, and definitions, which will be useful for future searches.


If your topic has significant events associated with it, knowing what they are and when they happened will help you choose the best sources to consult.  For example, is your topic in today's newspaper, or did the event happen 50 years ago?


Sometimes places are important to a topic, knowing the important places associated with your topic will help you choose the best sources to consult.  For example, the SCC Library has a US history database and a World history database.  Knowing the "where" can help you pick the right database.


Getting background information on why people are interested in your topic can help you craft an argument.