Writing: Find a Topic

Turning an Interest into a Research Question

In this video, you’ll learn how to turn something you find interesting into a researchable question for a college research project.

Policy & research institutes

Policy and research institutes conduct and publish credible research, often including polls, and advocacy on social, political, cultural or economic issues. While most policy and research institutes are non-profit organizations, some have a political or ideological slant.

Google search tips

Add site:edu or site:gov to limit your search to .edu or .gov sites
Limiting your search to the areas of the web where the information is most reliable, such as education sites or government sites is a good way to find credible sources. 

For example, a search for nutritional supplements, will bring up many commercial (.com) sites trying to sell you vitamins. If you search for nutritional supplements site:gov , the top results (except for the sponsored ads) will be sites such as the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, which are authoritative, unbiased sources that are not trying to sell you anything.
If you search for nutritional supplements site:edu, your top results will be from universities providing research on nutritional supplements.

Use a minus sign to exclude words.

For example, if you are looking for weather information in Portland, Maine you could add -oregon to your search to exclude web sites with the word "oregon."
Or to exclude commercial web sites, add -site:com to your search. For example, nutritional supplements -site:com

Hot Topics

The following websites and library databases can help you come up with great focused topic ideas:

Find Books

The Library search box is your starting point to find books, ebooks, DVDs, and other materials.

Featured Titles

Featured titles in your subject area: