Jenks Library is your partner in research. It contains many resources both print and online to assist students with any of their writings and projects. Use the library's homepage as the portal into any resources you might need for conducting your research.
Topic forming is one of the hardest parts of writing a research paper. This is the time in which students need to come up with an original idea, develop a research question around that idea, and ultimately spend the next 6+ pages of a paper constructing a solid argument around. A topic for a research paper is not simply what they'll be discussing in the paper, but is also provides a roadmap for what the reader can expect.
When a student comes to the Writing Center looking to get help forming a topic here are some suggestions and tips you can do to get them started:
Research in the NOBLE Catalog and any library database begins with keywords. A keyword is the main idea or main concept of the topic. Help students break their topic into 3 keywords to begin their search.
For students that are really struggling to come up with a topic two great resource to direct them to that can help get their ideas flowing are Global Issues in Context and Issues and Controversies. Both resources provide topic pages and resources for major national and global issues in the world today. Issues range from anything to capital punishment, immigration, AIDS, video games, teen driving, environmentalism, and more. Each topic page contains an overview of the issue and provides pro and con viewpoints on the particular issue. It will also provide links to a variety of resources in different formats such as academic journal articles, newspaper articles, videos, and more.
Writing and citation reference guides such as A Writer's Reference are great resources for coaching students through the process of writing a research essay. Note only are these resources full of great examples of citations in each of the major citation formats, but they also have great information about the writing process in general.
Take for example the "Academic Writing" section of A Writer's Reference. In this section students will learn how to read and annotate scholarly texts in order to be able to articulate an author's argument, craft an arguable thesis statement that is well supported, evaluate arguments made in scholarly writing, and recognize the different writing styles disciplines require. If a student is struggling with any of these areas of writing you can work through one of these sections with them to show them real life examples of how to state their ideas and work with information.