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WR121 - Academic Composition

A guide to doing research for WR121 at Chemeketa Community College

Picking Your Topic IS Research

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Gather Search Language as You Explore

As you are reading sources and refining your topic, write words and phrases that you could use to find more information on your topic. Search terms can be the names of people, important events or legislation related to your topic. There may be a preferred term or label used to describe your topic.

To collect keywords, subject terms, topic language, and research ideas, you might: 

  • Take out a piece of paper and a writing utensil and take handwritten notes
  • Open a word document and save it to the desktop. Copy and paste or type your notes. Save your work as you go! 
  • Go to your Google Drive and create a Google Doc then copy and paste or type your notes as you go

Good Databases for Debatable Topics

Finding Professional or Trade Publications

Use this search box to find journals, magazines, or newspapers. Use words that pertain to a profession or field. For example, if you're interested in the hospitality industry, you might try "hospitality" or "hotel*" or "restaurant." You can browse the articles in a publication to see what issues are sparking the interest of experts.

Using Podcasts and News to Find Topic Ideas

PRI's The World is a daily one-hour radio program featuring stories from around the world. The World is heard on over 300 stations across North America. There are multiple options for listening to the program, including live on the radio, via podcasts such as the links  below, or by going to the PRI's The World website. The website offers text and images to supplement the radio program. For an example of value added items on the website, look at "Indian College Women Push Back Against Curfews."


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TED Talks

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in short talks. Browse TED for talks about culture.