Sometimes choosing a topic can be the hardest part of a research paper. Using encyclopedias or online reference tools can help you get the big picture of a topic so you can then narrow your focus to what really interests you.
You can use encyclopedias as catalogs of topics. To find specialized encyclopedias in Purdue's catalog, click on "Advanced Search" on the Libraries' homepage.
Then key in:
|in top box:||encyc*|
|in second box:||subject area, e.g. nanotechnology|
|or||crim* (for crimes, criminology, etc.)|
These books provide informed pro/con and point/counterpoint viewpoints on a variety of controversial research topics.