Encyclopedias are are great resources for gathering background information on your topic, as well as for:
They are good resources to use in the beginning stages of your research for learning more about your topic, but they should not be part of your cited reference list.
Since encyclopedia articles focus on basic, general information about a topic, what you type in the search box should also be general:
YES: "Video Games"
YES: "Video Games" and "addiction"
NO: How does video game addiction affect the socialization of teenagers?
The Credo Reference database includes a
great MindMap tool (see example at right)
to help you brainstorm topic ideas.
You'll find another great brainstorming
tool in the Opposing Viewpoints database:
Click on "Browse Issues" to see a long list
of topic ideas in alphabetical order.
Find more databases below:
Encyclopedia Britannica has a web-based resource you might consult as well, ProCon.org. If you are unsure of a topic for your argumentative essay, for example, click on "More Issues" in the top navigation bar to view over 100 suggestions (accompanied by pertinent research).