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Spanish: Finding a Topic

Guide to Spanish resources

Finding a Topic, Boolean Searching, and Finding a Book Tutorial

Finding a Topic, Boolean Searching, and Finding a Book Tutorial


Narrow your Topic

Too much information?
Try limiting your topic to one of the following aspects:


 You want to discuss child development, you pick a theory or a specific developmental stage (such as infant, toddler, elderly, etc.).
Sub-Topic  You want to discuss the benefits of owning a pet (but it's a short paper or discussion board) so you choose the benefits of pets for mental health and stress relief.
Time Span  Depending on your topic, you may choose to only investigate a time period in the past (for a primary source analysis), or if it's a recent topic like the nursing shortage caused by Covid, then narrow to a more recent time period (last 5 years).
Population  If your topic is about social media usage, investigate issues about effects on teenagers (instead of all ages).
Location  If your topic concerns the environment, investigate issues on North Carolina's coast (instead of the entire world).

The following words or ideas may help you narrow your topic or find points you can make about your topic. 

  • technology
  • sustainability
  • diversity issues
  • global issues
  • climate change
  • what came before or after
  • harrassment/bullying/violence
  • mental health
  • impact on the future
  • ethics
  • LGBTQ issues
  • artificial intelligence

Not Enough Information?

Not enough information?
Read background information. Think of related ideas.

Your topic is too specific  You want to compare two local bands but you may have to investigate the local music industry or the effects of Youtube on new artists to incorporate academic sources.
Your topic is too new  For example, we couldn't find scholarly articles about Covid at the beginning of the pandemic. Searching databases that contain newspaper articles may be a solution.
Have you checked enough databases? Use the Research Databases by Subject list to find specialized databases.
You are using too much jargon. Google to find other keywords. How is your topic expressed by experts? What terms are commonly found in citations and bibliographies?


Topic Grid - Use the grid to think about keywords and how these can help narrow or expand your topic.
Topic Other Keywords People/Place Impact(s) Cause(s)
Dogs Canine Home Health Benefits Companionship
    Work Therapy Ability to calm
    Emergency crews Rescue Ability to detect


It's Ok to Google!

Google logo

There are lots of times that Google is really helpful for research. Here are a few.

  • For pre-reading before picking a topic.
  • To verify information that you've found on websites.
  • To verify credibility of an author or source.
  • To use credible sites for information (if your instructor allows website).
  • To access online scholarly articles through Google Scholar or available from publishers' websites (if your instructor allows).
  • To find bibliographies of websites like Wikipedia (sources in bibliographies can be credible even if the website isn't).
  • To find abstracts in indexes such as PubMed and then search for the article in the Library's databases.

Many times sources found in Google are just as credible as sources in the Library's databases. It's up to YOU to verify credibility when you Google. However, always follow your instructor's directions on the types of sources allowed for assignments.

graphic of conversations bubbles


Pick a topic that meets your instructor's criteria and isn't too big or too small. Your topic also needs to be academic enough so that you can demonstrate good research techniques. Use your best writing skills to show your knowledge of the topic. 

For more help finding a topic, check these pages:

Find a Topic for College Papers

Find a Persuasive Topic



Below are links to online reference resources to help you narrow your broad topics to a narrower focus:

Topic Ideas

Below are links to topic lists from various institutions, some of which contain further links to information resources.

Being Part of a Persuasive Conversation

People with conversation bubblesChoosing a persuasive topic for a college class isn't as easy as it sounds. For starters, you need to find something that can be argued or persuaded. Some topics just can't be argued. Another problem students have is finding topics that can be researched.


Here are some Hot Topic research guides created by Librarians at Rowan-Cabarrus to give you some ideas.