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College 1 Research Guide

This guide provides links to many of the resources you'll need to complete your poster assignment.

Topic Ideas: What Are You Curious About?

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The list below includes topics that are connected with Little Nation and Other Stories. You can choose from this list or come up with your own topic from the book or other course texts. Many of these topics will need to be narrowed down significantly in order to work well for your research poster.  

Latinx/Hispanic/Chican@                     Community / Political Activism                  Media/Freedom of Expression

authors, inventors, scholars, artists, artisans, and cultural figures

  • Bracero Program
  • Brick People
  • Company towns
  • Bilingual education
  • Farmworkers
  • Protest
  • Grassroots political movements
  • Eminent Domain
  • Displacement / Gentrification
  • Loss of faith in institutions
  • Los Angeles neighborhoods
  • Government standoffs / sieges with militant groups
  • Vigilante justice
  • Direct Democracy (recall, referendum, initiative
  • Media coverage of people of color / communities of color / violence
  • Conspiracies / cover-ups
  • Sensationalism
  • Urban legends / folktales
  • Civil liberties
  • Freedom of expression
  • Censorship
  • Controversial art
  • Propaganda
Social Issues                                           History / Humanities / Religion             Institutional Racism / Discrimination
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Child abuse / domestic violence
  • Self-harm
  • Gang culture
  • Guns
  • Drugs
  • Bullying 
  • Homeschooling
  • Homebirth
  • Manifest Destiny
  • Spanish / European Colonialism
  • Settler Colonialism
  • Aztec culture
  • pre-Columbian culture
  • Missions
  • Religious art
  • Virgin of Guadalupe
  • Altars
  • Indigeneity
  • Chavez Ravine
  • Police corruption / brutality
  • Prison industrial complex
  • School-to-prison pipeline
  • School segregation
  • Prop 209 (Affirmative Action ban)
  • Prop 187 (SOS)
  • 13th Amendment
  • Sub-prime mortgage crisis
  • Prop 13 and Prop 98 (School Funding)
  • Jim Crow Laws in California
  • Redlining


From Keywords to Research Question to Thesis Statement

Search Strategies

1.   Brainstorm keywords, related terms and synonyms. Examples:

  • Latino, Hispanic, Chicano
  • protest, demonstration, activism
  • drugs, addiction, substance abuse

2.   Use AND to focus your search on a smaller result set. Examples:

  •  police brutality AND racial profiling
  •  bilingual education AND benefits 

3.  Use OR to link synonyms and gain a larger result set. Examples:

  • pregnancy AND (teenagers OR adolescents)
  • media AND (bias OR sensationalism)

4.  Put quotations around your terms for exact searches
  Examples: "domestic violence"

                            "Manifest Destiny"

The keywords you come up with represent the concepts and themes you're exploring. You can incorporate keywords into a research question, and as you explore your topic in more depth, you can turn that question into a hypothesis. You will (hopefully!) answer the question by reading the sources you locate while conducting research, and that eventually becomes your thesis statement. 

Example 1:

  • Keywords: Los Angeles, gentrification, protest
  • Research Question: Why are activists in Los Angeles neighborhoods such as Boyle Heights protesting gentrification?
  • Hypothesis ----}> Thesis: Gentrification can reduce affordable housing and result in displacement of long-time residents and families from neighborhoods.

Example 2:

  • Keywords: censorship, controversial art, Latino
  • Research Question:  Have Latino artists faced censorship when their work is deemed "controversial"? 
  • Hypothesis ----}> Thesis: Murals by Latino artists such as Barbara Carrasco and Sergio O'Cadiz have been censored or vandalized due to their depictions of police brutality and the Japanese internment during World War II. 

Exploring & Refining Your Topic

Have a general idea for a topic, but still need to narrow it down? These databases can help you to familiarize yourself with a topic, refine your topic or build a set of search terms to use in other library databases.