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WIDMAYER WSH ENG 102 : Critical Writing, Reading and Research

Choosing a topic

Your assignment requires you to find an intriguing article, either on the web or in print. 

  • Once you have an idea for a topic, do some preliminary reading about it to determine whether:
    • you remain interested in the topic and
    • there is enough information available to meet the requirements of your assignment.

  • Using Wikipedia or an encyclopedia can help you learn the generalities of your topic.

The topic you choose should "fit" in several important respects: your interests and knowledge, the purpose of the assignment, the type of paper (report, issue, argument), and the length of the paper.

  • The boxes below suggest some database, book and internet sources to help you in choosing a topic.
  • Remember that the time you invest in selecting a topic will pay off when you are doing your research. Good luck!

Generating a List of Keywords

As you've looked through encyclopedias, books and websites you should already have a list of keywords started about your topic. This list should include broad and narrow terminology.

We advise you keep a list near you throughout the research process and that you continually add words or concepts to this list. Research is a fluid and cyclical process. Bear in mind you may want to search the same sources several times whenever you add new terms.

NPR news feeds

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Podcast - NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour

Some podcasts can be very broad, like the CNN or NPR news brief, or very narrow like this one on Pop Culture.  Do a Google search to see if there's a podcast out there on your topic.

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