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Research and Writing Basics: Topic Ideas


     Schedule a one-on-one appointment with a librarian for assistance:

Book Series

The following Book Series may be particularly useful for choosing a topic for many different types of papers. Books within these series have various call numbers and cover a wide variety of topics. To view a list of titles in any of these series, you may enter the series title ine the "Title" search option of the Library Catalog online.

  • At Issue
  • Contemporary Issues Companion
  • Current Controversies
  • Library in a Book
  • Point Counterpoint
  • Opposing Viewpoints
  • Taking Sides

Call Numbers

Use these call numbers to browse the Circulating and Reference Collections for topic ideas.


  • HC10-1085 -- Economic History and Conditions
  • HN1-981 -- Social History, Social Problems, Social Reform
  • HQ1-2039 -- The family, Marriage, Women
  • HV1-9960 -- Social Pathology, Social and Public Welfare, Criminology
  • QH75-77 -- Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection
  • QH426-470 -- Genetics
  • R131-784 -- History of Medicine
  • RA1-1270 -- Public Aspects of Medicine
  • U1-900 -- Military Science (General)
  • UA10-997 -- Armies: Organization, Description, Facilities, Etc.
  • Z657-659 -- Censorship


Picking Your topic IS Research

View this brief video from the North Carolina State University.  It explains how to use the research cycle to choose and further define your topic.

Topic Ideas from the Databases

Topic Ideas Online

Print Journals

Try browsing the current issues of magazines, journals, and newspapers to find ideas for your topic.

Print Available at Blountville Campus:

  • Atlantic
  • Business Week
  • Consumer Reports
  • Discover
  • Health
  • Money 
  • Mother Earth News
  • National Geographic
  • Popular Mechanics
  • Popular Science
  • Psychology Today
  • Sky & Telescope
  • Smithsonian 
  • Time

Or access popular magazines online through Flipster: