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SOC& 201: Social Problems: Researching Social Problems

Developing a Topic

Think about your class readings, discussions, and themes.

Browse a popular website like TED, The Atlantic, or NYTimes for ideas. 

Follow the social media accounts for news outlets like NPR and Washington Post.

Do Google searches on broad topics like the following to see what the issues involved are:

Fertility tourism

Student debt

Lethal injection drugs

Data privacy

Cyberbullying

Mass incarceration

For-profit colleges

Distracted driving

Honor based violence ("honor killings")

Sex work

Want help developing a topic? Email Haley or Chat with a Librarian 24/7.

Researching Social Problems

Before you start searching, develop KEYWORDS to use in your searches. Be CREATIVE and keep adding new terms as you learn them. For example if you were interested in "race discrimination by police" you wouldn't want to only use those words when you search. Take the time to brainstorm:

Broader Terms: DISCRIMINATION, PROFILING, RACISM, STEREOTYPES, CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Related Terms: RACIAL PROFILING, ETHNIC DISCRIMINATION, POLICE BRUTALITY

Narrower Terms: STOP AND FRISK, POLICE SHOOTINGS, OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTINGS, EXCESSIVE FORCE, BODY CAMERAS

Use these KEYWORDS to create searches:

law enforcement AND excessive force

police brutality AND minorities

race discrimination AND (police or law enforcement)

For more information on creating searches, check out the FIND ARTICLES tab.            

Newest Topics from the NYTimes Room for Debate

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