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Library "Do-It-Yourself" (DIY)

I want to learn more about possible topics

Before beginning more in-depth research, it's often helpful to get an overview of your topic through background research. This can help you develop a more effective research question and brainstorm better search terms.

  • Your instructor understands your assignment and can provide advice about the topic and how to frame it. 
  • General Resources and Subject Encyclopedias can help you develop your topic and identify key search terms. They contain short topic overviews and scholarly references.  
  • Ask a Librarian! We're available in person, via virtual chat, text, email, and phone. 
  • If there are journals related to the general area you are studying and you're brainstorming possible topics, look through recent tables of contents for ideas and background information on possible topics. You may browse eJournals by subject.
  • Check out FAU's Subject and Course Guides to get more ideas for background research. 

 Here are a few useful databases for exploring potential topics:

  • CQ Researcher Plus Archive - Reports on key issues in the U.S.Congress from 1923 to the present. Includes a searchable archive by keyword, date, or subject.
  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context - Controversial contemporary topic summaries and overviews of current issues. 
  • Oxford Bibliographies - Offers exclusive, authoritative research guides.

  • Oxford Handbooks Online - Brings together the world's leading scholars to write review essays that evaluate the current thinking on a field or topic, and make an original argument about the future direction of the debate.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library - Full text encyclopedias and reference books in all disciplines.