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Contemporary & Popular Issues: hot topics research

Library research tools to help you find sources for research and writing on current events, hot topics and pro/con issues

things to remember

When searching discipline or subject-specific resources, you may find that:

  • need to change the terminology/keywords you are using to better fit that discipline or profession 
  • ...the articles are written in technical and scholarly language
  • need to refine the search strategy more than once
  • need to search across multiple subjects
  • ...some of the subject specific resources, are also format specific; some resources will ONLY contain scholarly articles or media or newspaper articles or conference proceedings, etc


You may find that you need to move beyond the interdisciplinary resources and into a more targeted search. 
Use the "Research Tools" tab on the library's homepage to access the listing of databases/resources by subject and discipline for a more guided search.  Browse subject listings on the A-Z List.

Some of our most popular subject areas are listed below... 


Databases are your primary search tool for finding articles on a topic.

To choose an appropriate database, ask yourself which disciplines are relevant to your topic. A paper about global warming, for example, may be relevant to a number of disciplines including environmental science, political science, and business. Once you decide which discipline(s) to focus on, select databases by subject from our A-Z  List.

To find recommended databases to use as starting points by popular disciplines, visit the Research: Start page and select the appropriate subject/discipline on the list on the left.

Use the tools built-in to the databases and other resources to help guide you, such as subject headings, tags, related searches, etc.

  • Continue to search and narrow down your topic to make it more manageable and specific
  • Try not to enter a long string of words or complete phrases in a single search box, some databases won't give you successful search results, try instead to break up you search into a few key words and terms
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat; you may need to repeat the process more than once in order to get to the exact type of results you are looking for
  • Try to use multiple databases, don't be satisfied with the results from just one database
  • Ask for help!  Consult with the librarians.  They can recommend other resources and help you fine-tune your search for information.