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LGBT Resources: Explore Topics

This guide will give you information regarding LGBT resources found at the Harper College Library.

Background Information

Choosing a Topic

Step 1 - Read your assignment

Right after you receive the assignment, read through your assignment and make sure you understand what your instructor wants. The assignment may be very specific, giving you only a few choices, or very open, allowing you to pick based on your own interests.

Double check your idea with your instructor to make sure it meets his or her expectations. Ask any questions you have about the assignment. A quick email or a word after class could save you having to start all over again!

Your instructor might also be able to make some suggestions if you are truely stuck. Or, if you have several ideas that seem equally good, your instructor could help you choose the one that's the best fit for the class.

Step 2 - Get some background information

It may be that you have no previous information about LGBT events and issues. That's okay! You are graded on what you learn from the assignment, not what you know when you start.

If LGBT issues is really new to you, you might not know all what all it covers. Take a look at some of our resources in the Backgroung Information Box, and see if a smaller topic or chapter is interesting to you. Page through your text book or recommended reading. Was there one aspect that you wanted to learn more about?

By browsing the resources in the box to the left, you might find topics you have never heard anything about. For example:

AIDS Memorial Quilt

Coming Out

Sexual Orientation

Stereotypes

Stonewall Riots

Queer Theory

Transgender

Step 3 - Consider your own interests

No one says that research has to be boring! In fact, it should be a chance for you to steer your own learning.

If you are taking a class in an area outside your major or main program of study, can you tie your topic back to your major? For example:

   Nursing AND LGBT communities

   Famous Literature AND LGBT writers

   Business AND LGBT

   LGBT AND Law

Can you tie your own personal interests into the topic? For example:

  Music AND LGBT

  Fashion AND LGBT

 Choose something that will keep you interested. It will help you write a better paper or make a better presentation.

Step 4 - Get ready to research!

Once you've chosen your topic, doing a little extra right now will help your research and final product go more smoothly.

Change your topic into a question.

   This helps you stay on track. Every time you find a source, ask "Does this help answer my question?"

   This also helps you create a strong thesis or main idea, because it should be a direct answer to your question.

        Ex. Take "Fashion AND LGBT" and make it "How have gay fashion designers shaped the fashion industry?" 

Brainstorm related words.

   Not everyone uses the same word for something. Think of other words that people may use to describe your topic.

        Ex. Fashion; clothing; style; dress; costume

        Ex. homosexual, bisexual, transgender, gay, lesbian, queer

It may be helpful to check a dictionary or read a basic overview in order to see what words are used to describe your topics, especially by the experts.