Browse some topic lists:
Find articles in the Library's databases:
Search the Library's online databases to find a wide range of possible topics. Search the following databases to find a topic about a current issue:
From Oakton's catalog:
The following book has information on how to pick a topic and refine it:
Read articles in these online encyclopedias to set the context for your research. Take note of relevant items in the bibliographies or "for further reading" sections at the end of the encyclopedia articles.
The following OCC databases address current issues:
The following websites may assist you in finding background information on a topic:
Ask a reference librarian to recommend online and print subject specific encyclopedias in the Oakton Library.
News articles in a newspaper or general magazine can also give you a starting point for your research. Use an online periodical database such as Academic Search Complete to locate background information in full text magazine and journal articles.
The Library has over 67,000 online magazines, journals, and newspapers in its Article Databases.
Get Started with Academic Search Complete
Additional TipsLook at the "help screen" links that can usually be found on the top or side of the screen. Information in these "help screens" can save you time and offer ideas on how to search more effectively and efficiently.
Use your Oakton username and password to access the Library databases from an off-campus computer.
Determine if your instructor will allow you to include Internet resources in your research.
Unlike scholarly print periodicals and books, where the information is subjected to a process of review, anyone can publish on the web. Many web sites are also designed for commercial purposes and, consequently, are designed to influence!
Evaluate web sites by determining their authority, relevance, and currency:
Recommended search engines:
Recommended sites for Images:
Evaluate web sites by determining their authority, relevance and currency: Evaluating Web Pages: Questions to Consider (Cornell University).
Do you need to use popular magazines and/or scholarly periodicals? They each serve different purposes and are written for specific audiences.
Evaluate books by using book reviews to gather critical and other valuable information and the Evaluating Your Sources from the University of North Carolina Library.
Cite It Right!
Do you need an introduction to citations? If so, start with the Library's Cite It Right! guide.
Online Guides and Samples for Citations:
Is it Plagiarism?
Books about Citations
MLA, APA and Chicago Style manuals are available in the Library at the Reference Desk on each campus.
NoodleTools is a full featured citation and research tool that will help you format and save your citations online. It can help you through the citation process step by step. It can also help you create and manage an outline and/or notecards for your paper, and can help you share your sources with other users.
NOTE: If you are a new user, you must register using this NoodleTools link. More information is available on the Library's Cite It Right!: NoodleTools (citation manager) page.
How to Write Your Paper
Congratulations! You're now ready to put all the pieces together. Just as the Library helped you find, evaluate and use information effectively and efficiently, the Library can recommend resources to you that will help you in the final states of your work.
The following websites provide great tips about writing a paper:
The Learning Center
The Learning Center supports all students through a variety of services including tutoring, study strategies and techniques, and workshops that enhance classroom learning.
The following books are great resources. Select the title for location & availability.
Don't forget to look at our research guides for more suggestions about your research! Select a subject from the drop-down menu below to get started.