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English 1010: Exploring topics

Your one-stop guide to research and writing in English 1010!

Keep track of keywords and narrow your search

As you explore your topic, write down words that seem important to the topic. These will help you when you start searching the databases. Think up some related terms (synonyms or antonyms), too.


Who? Adolescents Teenagers
What? Incarceration Detention
When? 20th century 1990-1999
Where? Washington County Utah
How?/Why? Violent crimes Substance abuse


These questions will also help you to narrow your topic to something manageable for a short paper.

  • Who? - Which group of people does my topic affect most or which group do I want to focus on? Answers could be: children, senior citizens, LGBTQ youth, college athletes, comic book heroines, etc. 
  • What? - What specifically about this topic are you interested in? Answers could be: educational attainment, health, rehabilitation, libraries, work-skill development, etc.
  • When? - What is the time period you're interested in exploring? Answers could be: 19th century, 21st century, 2014, 1990's, etc.
  • Where? - Is there a specific location you're interested in? The United States or the world as a whole? Answers could be: St. George, New York City, Japan, United States, Utah, California, London, Asia, North America, etc.
  • How/Why? - Follow up questions could include "Why are most adolescents incarcerated?" ; "How are adolescents charged?" ; "How does the United States compare to other countries on this issue?" ; etc.



Use encyclopedias to explore a topic of interest and look for keywords to use when searching for articles in the databases.

On the Web

Local sources

Use these local newspapers and websites to explore issues and problems faced in the immediate communities, state, or region.

Meet your librarian!

Dianne Aldrich's picture
Dianne Aldrich
Holland Centennial Commons, Office 245
Skype Contact: Dianne3895