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Finding Topics for Your Research Paper or Speech

September 18, 2015

Are you having difficulty finding a topic for your upcoming speech or research paper? Do you have a general topic in mind and need more information? If you answered yes to either question, the Library can help you.

Below are some of our suggested resources to help choose a topic.

Library Databases

These databases offer insight into trending topics, issues, and current news. Something here may provide the inspiration you need to get started! (Use your RamPort login credentials to gain access.)

CQ Researcher: Look here for original, comprehensive reporting on and unbiased analysis of issues in the news. Areas covered include health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy.

Issues and Controversies: An online source of information on more than 800 of the most prominent and hotly debated issues of the day in business, politics, government, education, and popular culture with in-depth articles made to inspire thought-provoking debates.

Press Reader: Access an endless stream of top news stories to read, discuss, and share. Get full issues of thousands of top newspapers and magazines just as they appear in print.

Reference Databases

These databases provide access to numerous specialized Encyclopedias and dictionaries to help you select a topic. (Use your RamPort login credentials to gain access.)

Credo Reference: Online collection of top quality reference books from major publishers. It contains dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias, quotations and atlases, plus a wide range or subject-specific titles covering everything from accounting to zoology.

Gale Virtual Reference Library: online collection of premier reference eBooks for multidisciplinary research. GVRL ebook titles that are part of the ASU library’s collection display on the home page, categorized by broad subject area. To view an alphabetical list of all titles in the library’s collection, users can click the ‘Title List’ link found below the GVRL product banner.

Specialized Encyclopedias

These encyclopedias are excellent resources for topic overviews. Here is a small sample of the specialized encyclopedias in the Library’s collection.

Culture Wars in America: an Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices

Encyclopedia of American Education

Encyclopedia of Computer Science & Technology

Encyclopedia of Elder Care: the Comprehensive Resource on Geriatric Health and Social Care

Encyclopedia of Gangs  

Encyclopedia of Street Crime in America

International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family


If you have questions, or need assistance with your research, please visit the Research Assistance Desk, call 325-942-2222, or email