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ENC 1102 (Hernandez)

This guide is designed to help students with library research as they complete assignments in ENC1102 with Professor Hernandez at the Poinciana Campus.

Choose a Topic

When choosing a topic, always refer to your assignment for guidance.

There are a couple of questions to ask yourself as you think about choosing a topic. Look at your assignment from your professor. Were you given a topic to research by your professor? Or are you able to select your own topic? It may also be that you were given a broad topic (ex: technology) by your professor and can choose a narrower topic related to the broader topic.

If given the option to choose your topic, one of the first steps you need to take is to pick a topic you are interested in. Having a topic that holds your interest makes your paper fun to write! Chances are you won't put it off until the last minute, and you are engaged in the research and writing process.

So how do you find your interests?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you feel strongly about?
  • What is something you'd like to know more about?
  • What current international, national, local, or campus issue do you find interesting and important?
  • Do you have something to say on a topic?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What will draw you into a discussion on social media?
  • What inspires your activism?
  • What topics will make you stop and read an article, blog post, or news item?

Answer them honestly. First, read your assignment and find out about your topic selection options. After you find out if you can choose a topic, take 10 minutes and write the answers to as many of the questions above on a sheet of paper. Don't worry about spelling or grammar...just let the thoughts flow. 

Select your Topic

Now that you have an idea of what may interest you, it's time to select a topic.  Here are some places you can start to look to help select your topic.

To identify a research topic, try:

  • Your professors, librarians, course texts, and readings
  • Your own business or personal interest area
  • Browse the following Internet websites and Library Databases.  Most of them were developed with you, the student, in mind
Online Topic Lists

College Databases

Paper Topics and Opposing Viewpoints 

(From CSU Long Beach)

Opposing Viewpoints (See "Browse Issues")

Issues and Controversies (See "All Issues")

Narrow your Topic

When writing a paper, you should narrow your topic as much as possible. Start by asking yourself these questions. What do I already know? What do I think I know? What do I need to know?

Background/Preliminary Research

It is helpful to do some background research on any topic you are researching. This information will help you find out the issues surrounding your topic and help you narrow the scope of your research topic to something manageable. Online subject encyclopedias are an excellent way to find background information and become more familiar with your topic. You can use the table of contents to find related chapters on your topic.

One good subject encyclopedia you can search is the library database called Gale eBooks. It contains information from various online subject encyclopedias and other reference sources.

The Valencia College libraries do not welcome solicitation of resources to be added to our LibGuides. This includes but is not limited to vendors, search engine optimizers, placement of ads, products, or any other requests. Our LibGuides are carefully curated resources developed in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to support specific assignments, courses, events, and other related purposes at Valencia College. The Valencia libraries reserve the right to ignore LibGuide resource solicitations, and/or block persistent requests from groups or individuals to add or promote links in our LibGuides.