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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.

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.)

What's a Library Database?


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

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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