Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Topic Exploration: Browsing Your Way to a Subject

Resources to help you choose or narrow a topic

All of the database resources on this page can be accessed by clicking on the link and using your My Chemeketa/Single Sign-On login if you are not using one of the library's computers.

Using the Powersearch Subject Guide Search

The Gale Powersearch Subject Guide is a great way to focus a subject.  Let's say you're interested in paper folding, but don't know how to turn that into a term paper. You click on the Gale Powersearch link on the database page:

picture of the library's database page showing the Powersearch icon/link

On the Powersearch page, you choose the Subject Guide Search button:

picture of gale subject guide search button

You type in origami and search.

picture of search space and search button with origami typed in

You find the term in the results list, and click on Subdivisions to see specific aspects of origami.

detail of subject term results showing the subdivisions link

Dozens of choices appear. You scroll down the list and click on an aspect of interest: technology application.

shows several subdivisions of origami with technology application called out

A list of articles appears. You can switch from Magazines to Academic Journals or News if you wish. An article may suggest further ways to focus your effort.  For example, after looking at an article on mathematics and origami you might go to the Primo Library Search and look for origami AND mathematics, or origami AND engineering. You would find books, articles and video that you could use for a paper.

picture of article about mathematicians and origami

Gale PowerSearch

PowerSearch is not a database. It is a tool that searches many databases at the same time. It does not search in all library databases. 

link to powersearch

Browsing for a Debatable Topic

If you're looking for a topic to make an argument, try browsing in one of these databases:

Getting Reference Help

  • E-mail a Question to Reference
  • Phone Reference at 503.399.5231
  • Chat reference: Please use the form below
  • We recommend that you include an e-mail address so that you can receive a transcript of your chat and so the library can send you any followup help.