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WR227 - Technical Writing: Topic Sources

A course guide to information sources for technical writing.

Some Topic Sources

This page will tell you about some sources for topics and how to find an appropriate source. Some suggested sources are:

  • Subject encyclopedias
  • Professional and trade publications

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.

Getting Reference Help

  • E-mail a Question to Reference
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  • 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.

How to Find Subject Encyclopedias

Use the Library Search to find specialized subject encyclopedias. Type a word or phrase that describes your subject area, and add encycloped*. (The asterisk is a truncation character that tells the computer to return anything that starts with "encycloped": "encyclopedia," "encyclopedias," "encyclopedic.")  Here is an example:

picture of primo search space with search for "eating disorders" encycloped*

Quotation marks around a phrase tell the computer to keep the words together. In the list of results, books may be paper, with a location and a call number, or electronic, with a Full text Available or Online access link. Clicking the link or the title will give you a way to access the book.

pciture of primo library search record for Eating Disorders: An Encyclopedia

Most books have a table of contents you can browse for topics.

Picture of e-book landing page

The encyclopedia article about a topic can give you key words such as technical terms, names of prominent experts, and so on.