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AWR - Current and Controversial Topics: Topic Ideas

This guide will help with your Major Informed Opinion Paper (MIOP) or any other paper you write on controversial topics.

Subject Headings

Most databases will have subject headings which show you how your topic has been categorized by the database developers. Librarians also use subject headings as a way to organize books within the library.

Look for the subject heading in the item record of whatever database you are searching. The subject heading is often a hyperlink that will lead you to more material about that subject. Paying attention to subject headings can also help in creating synonyms and new terms for your research.

An example:

Main Author:     Kininmonth, William.
Title:     Climate change : a natural hazard /

Subject(s):     Climatic changes.
Global warming.
Global temperature changes.

How to find a topic

Browsing a newspaper, journal, or magazine can be a perfect way to find a topic for your MIOP. The library receives several papers on a daily or weekly basis. We also receive print copies of assorted magazines. All can be found on the South side of the library on the first floor by the large windows.

You can also find ideas for topics by browsing newspapers online -- Access World News is one of the best places to do this:

Access World News  (Access through the library's databases)
This comprehensive news collection is ideal for exploring issues and events at the local, regional, national, and international level. Its diverse source types include print and online-only newspapers, blogs, newswires, journals, broadcast transcripts, and videos. Use it to explore a specific event or to compare a wide variety of viewpoints on topics such as politics, business, health, sports, cultural activities, and people. Content is easily searched and sorted through an intuitive, map-based interface.

Sometimes an instructor suggests a particular journal or magazine to students. You can check and see where the library may have the magazine or journal located using the following link:


Example MIOP Topic - Arab Spring

Here are a few examples of some sources you might use for researching the protest movements that spread across North Africa and the Middle East in 2010-2012, also known as the Arab Spring.

• Use the library's catalog to look for books. For this topic, the book above would be suitable.

• You might use an article like the following (available through the library's databases):

2012. "Social Media Evolution of the Egyptian Revolution." Communications Of The ACM 55, no. 5: 74-80. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed June 4, 2012).

• You can use academic journals like the following (all available through the library's collection of databases):

Journal of International Affairs

Journal of the Middle East and Africa

Middle East Journal

If you need help find information for any research you're doing stop by the Reference Desk at the library and ask a Reference Librarian for assistance.