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Distance Learning Library Services: Choose a Topic

This guide is intended to help students who are taking classes at a regional campus and/or online to more easily access library resources and services.

Choosing a Topic

How do I choose a great topic?  

The sorts of topics we can select are often dictated by various factors, such as assignment, classes, professors, or research agendas.  However, even within these constraints, it is important to find topics that grab your interest.

‚ÄčIf you have an open-ended assignment, a great place for brainstorming possible research topics is a database called CQ Researcher. This database publishes reports that provide overviews, background information, opinion pieces, and lots of references on a large collection of topics.

Other Great Places To Find Topics

News:  Yahoo News, CNN.com, NPR.org, and local broadcast news all cover recent events and may pique your interest for further exploration of the story.

Topics from your course:  Scan your textbook and other class readings for topic ideas and suggestions.

Something happening in your life:  Considering a career in politics? Hoping to start your own business? Thinking of studying abroad next year? Choose a toipc that allows you to learn about something you can apply to your daily life.

 

Popular Topic Ideas

Business

  • Cybersecurity
  • E-business
  • Ethics
  • Glass ceiling
  • Online retail
  • Outsourcing
  • Sweatshops
  • White collar crime

Crime and Law

  • Acquaintance rape
  • Animal rights
  • Assisted suicide
  • Campus violence
  • Capital punishment
  • Civil rights
  • Drinking age, legal
  • Drug legalization
  • Gun control
  • Hate crimes
  • Insanity defense
  • Mandatory Minimum sentencing
  • Patriot Act
  • Police brutality
  • Prisons and prisoners
  • Roe vs. Wade
  • Serial killers
  • Sex crimes
  • Sexual harassment
  • Three Strikes Law

Drugs and Drug Abuse

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Doping in sports
  • Drug testing
  • Drunk driving
  • Heroin
  • Marijuana
  • Nicotine

Environmental

  • Acid rain
  • Alternative fuel/hybrid vehicles
  • Conservation
  • Deforestation
  • Endangered species
  • Energy
  • Global warming
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Landfills
  • Marine pollution
  • Nuclear energy
  • Oil spills
  • Pesticides
  • Pollution
  • Population control
  • Radioactive waste disposal
  • Recycling
  • Smog
  • Soil pollution
  • Wildlife conservation

Family issues

  • Battered woman syndrome
  • Child abuse
  • Divorce rates
  • Domestic abuse
  • Family relationships
  • Family values

Political Issues

  • Affirmative Action
  • Budget deficit
  • Electoral College
  • Election reform
  • Emigration
  • Genocide
  • Illegal aliens
  • Immigration
  • Impeachment
  • International relations
  • Medicaid/Medicare reform
  • Operation Enduring Iraqi Freedom
  • Partisan politics
  • Prescription drugs
  • Social Security Reform
  • Third parties
  • Taxes

Religion

  • Cults
  • Freedom of religion
  • Occultism
  • Prayer in schools

Terrorism

  • Bioterrorism
  • Homeland Security
  • September 11

Women and Gender

  • Abortion
  • Birth control and Pregnancy
  • Body image
  • Cultural expectations and practices
  • Discrimination
  • Eating disorders
  • Education
  • Feminism
  • Gay pride
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Health
  • Marriage and Divorce
  • Media portrayals
  • Menstruation and Menopause
  • Parenting
  • Prostitution
  • Queer issues (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)
  • Sex and Sexuality
  • Sports
  • Stereotypes
  • Substance abuse
  • Violence and Rape
  • Work

Education

  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Charter schools
  • College admission policies
  • College athletes
  • College tuition planning
  • Distance education
  • Diploma mills
  • Education and funding
  • Grade inflation
  • Greek letter societies
  • Hazing
  • Home schooling
  • Intelligence tests
  • Learning disabilities
  • Literacy in America
  • Mascots
  • No Child Left Behind
  • Plagiarism
  • Prayer in schools
  • Sex education
  • School vouchers
  • Standardized tests

Health

  • Abortion
  • AIDS
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Alternative medicine
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Artificial insemination
  • Autism
  • Birth control
  • Bulimia
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Dietary supplements
  • Drug abuse
  • Dyslexia
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Fad diets
  • Fast food
  • Heart disease
  • HIV infection
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Medicaid/Medicare reform
  • Obesity
  • Organic foods
  • Prescription drugs
  • Plastic surgery
  • Sleep
  • Smoking
  • Stem cell research
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Vegetarianism
  • Weight loss surgery

Media and Communications

  • Body image
  • Censorship
  • Children's programming and advertising
  • Copyright Law
  • Freedom of speech
  • Materialism
  • Media bias
  • Media conglomerates/ownership
  • Minorities in mass media
  • Political correctness
  • Portrayal of women
  • Reality television
  • Stereotypes
  • Talk radio
  • Television violence

Psychology

  • Child abuse
  • Criminal psychology
  • Depression
  • Dreams
  • Intelligence tests
  • Learning disabilities
  • Memory
  • Physical attraction
  • Schizophrenia

Social Issues

  • Abortion
  • Adoption
  • Airline safety/security
  • Affirmative Action programs
  • AIDS
  • Apartheid
  • Birth control
  • Child abuse
  • Child rearing
  • Discrimination in education
  • Employee rights
  • Gambling/online gaming
  • Gang identity
  • Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender
  • Gay parenting
  • Gender discrimination
  • Genetic screening
  • Homelessness
  • Identity theft
  • Interracial marriage
  • Poverty
  • Race relations
  • Reverse discrimination
  • Suffrage
  • Suicide
  • Test biases
  • Textbook biases
  • Welfare

*This list is based on topics that the Librarians at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Undergraduate Library have noted of interest to students in the past few years. 

Picking Your Topic Is Research

Get Help

Or call:

Indiana Campus Library: Reference Desk
724-357-3006 or 1-866-836-8815

Punxsutawney Campus Library
814-938-4870 

Northpointe Campus Library
724-294-3300