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i-CONNECT: Step 2: Develop a Topic: Topic & Background Info

Books / eBooks

Books cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction, and can be a terrific source for your assignment.

They give a broad and comprehensive view of a topic. They also help: 

  • when looking for a lot of information on a topic
  • to put your topic in context with other important issues
  • to find summaries of research to support an argument

TIP: Skim the table of contents or the index to find the sections of the book or ebook that might be most useful for you.

What's a Library Database?


Hartness Library. "What's a Library Database?". YouTube. Published January 2014.

Library Databases

Consider using the library's databases as a starting point for research and for locating background information. Get started with resources like Britannica Online or Opposing Viewpoints. Below are just a few of the many databases CCAC subscribes to:


CQ Researcher, Opposing Viewpoints, and Issues & Controversies databases contain subject and topic listings that may help you get started.

Do some exploratory searches in a database like Academic Search Premier. Look at the abstracts or summaries of the articles that interest you; they may give you ideas for topics.  Also, look at their subject terms for possible keywords. 

Start with your broad topic area that interests you (example: immigration, diabetes, cloning, Iraq War, depression, Hinduism, air pollution, punk rock...etc.)

Web Resources

A simple Web search can be a great way to find basic information on your topic. You can find organizations or professionals who are experts in the subject. 

Sometimes a bit of browsing will allow you to gain some knowledge of your topic so that you can further focus on your search.

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