Choose and Define Topic


1st- If your instructor allows you to choose a topic, stick to a topic that you know something about or a topic that insterests you.

Browsing newspapers and periodicals on GALILEO for controversial issues are good ways to find research topics that interest you. Editorials are a good place to start.

You can access GALILEO without password by clicking on the GALILEO link from GeorgiaVIEW or if you are using a campus computer, by clicking on the GALILEO - Find Articles and More link on the SGSC Libraries website.

You can also retrieve SGSC's current GALILEO Password from your library account in SGSC’s GIL-Find catalog.

  • Click on the link to sign in to your library account, and then click on the GALILEO Password tab.
  • SGSC’s current password will be displayed on the left-hand side of the page.

*Then, try the following GALILEO Databases for Articles on Current Topics:

  • Academic Search Complete
  • Research Library
  • Lexis-Nexis
  • Sociological Collection

You can also access current controversial issues, try the "Issues and Controversies" datatbase from the link on the SGSC Libraries website.
NOTE: For off-campus access to Issues and Controversies, call the Douglas campus library at 912-260-4335 or the Waycross campus library at 912-449-7515 for the password.

Screen capture of web page showing link to Issues and Controversies

*Another place to search is in book series about controversial issues. Each book in the following series covers a different current issue and presents varying opinions on the topics.

  • Opposing Viewpoints Series
  • Contemporary World Issues Series

In the SGSC Libraries GIL-Find catalog, type opposing viewpoints or contemporary world issues and click the Search button.

The example below shows a catalog search results screen for "opposing viewpoints".

Screen shot of a catalog search for Opposing Viewpoints

A list of books and topics in the series will be displayed. If you are interested in one of these issues, you have already found a book on your topic.

If you were assigned a topic but it does not interest you, look for some aspect of the topic that does. For example you be interested in sports, but sports performance drugs might appeal to you. 

If you still can't think of a topic that is interesting to you, ask your professor or a librarian for some suggestions.

2nd - Narrow your topic to make sure you can adequately cover it in the number of pages required by the assignment or the time required for a speech.

  • Broad Topic: Alternative Fuels
  • Narrowed to: Effects of Alternative Fuels on Global Warming

3rd - Think critically about the main purpose of your paper or speech. Then write a thesis sentence or question that conveys this purpose (see example below).

This paper explains why alternative fuels for automobiles are necessary to slow global warming.

Voila! Your thesis sentence provides search terms to contruct your search strategy.  The next step is to use these search terms to construct your search strategy.