Pick a subject -- something that is of personal interest, or familiar. Get background information using encyclopedia information like that in Credo Reference, on the CTR Library homepage. Follow your instructor's guidelines!
How can I get ideas? Get a jump start by trying some of these suggestions! *What is being seen or heard in the news, or trending on the internet? *What subjects are being talked about a lot in class? * Is there something of particular personal interest? *What issues or ideas might be going on around the community?
Search in databases that relate to your subject to help narrow your focus.
Step One: Determine What Information is Needed
To begin with, ALWAYS refer to the instructor's assigment sheet to ensure that you are approachiing your subject properly!
1. When determining what subject you want to write your paper on, you need to first determine what information you will need. For instance, you may know that you want to do a paper about homelessness, but searching for the term "homelessness" will bring you millions of results to sift through. Do a little searching before deciding on a topic. for instance, search for "homeless veterans", or "homeless children" or "reasons for homelessness" to give your paper a specific focus.
2. Familiarize yourself with the topic -- what do you already know about the subject you chose? Can you use articles to show examples of information that you already know? The information you already know can help you to search more efficiently.
3. Organize -- think about WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, and HOW. Do your best to answer those questions in your searches, so that you can cover all of that information in your final document.
EXAMPLE: Who are the people affected by xissue?
What are the reasons that x issue happens? (What are the causes?)
Where is xissue happening most frequently?
When is xissue affecting people?
Why is xissue not being addressed; or if it is being addressed, why is the issue ongoing?
How can awareness of the issue help or change the issue for people?
Remember that you may use several sources to help flesh out all of this information.