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Choosing and Developing a Research Topic: Research Your Topic


  • Encyclopedias are useful for reading overviews, topic outlines, and summaries.

  • Encyclopedias are also good for identifying keywords you can use to search the online catalog, databases, and the Web. Keep track of the keywords you come across as you read.


  • From The Encyclopedia of Diets:

plant-based diet => vegetarianism

  • From the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture:

facelifts => Botox => plastic surgery

gangsters => mafia => organized crime



Books in the LPC Library

Advanced Search

Sample Search Terms:

  • women and wages
  • "title IX"
  • "animal rights"
  • "social media"
  • "gun control"
  • "factory farming"

Example: "The Debatabase Book"


Library Research Databases

To find articles published in journals, magazines, newspapers or other periodicals, you will need to use the library's online databases. 

Multidisciplinary/General Reference Information:

Academic Search Complete

Films on Demand Streaming Videos

 Current Controversial Topics:

CQ Researcher

Opposing Viewpoints

*Additional databases can be found on the LPC Library website:

Databases Listed by Subject

Databases Listed- A to Z

Login Instructions to Use the Databases

If you are using any of the library's online databases from off-campus, you will need to log in.

Username: Your W Number*

Password: First 2 letters of first name, first 2 letters of last name, and last 4 digits of W# (e.g., Jane Doe:  jado6789)

* If you don't know your W#, look it up in Class-Web.

Sample Search Terms

Searching Tips:

*Use quotation marks around phrases:

Example: "American Indian"

*Use connecting (boolean) words such as and | or  to connect multiple terms or phrases:

Example #1: tribe and casino

Example #2: tribal and (gaming or casino)