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Interdisciplinary Studies in the Commons

This guide will provide help with accessing IDS course support in the Commons, including IDS 405 and IDS 410

A person writing in a journal.

Photo by Vlad Hilitanu on Unsplash

IDS 410: Selecting Your Topic

As you consider what you would like to write about in this course, it may be a little daunting selecting a topic to focus on. There are three sub tabs here that focus on the available choices: sustainability, social justice, or civic responsibility. Click on each tab to see some suggested topics and useful databases to try searching in. 

Note: Remember to Check Your Bias

If you're a human on this planet, you're going to come to an argument with some sort of bias. When researching it can be very easy to be swept away by sensational articles or articles that are designed to persuade you to believe the author's argument. While reading, always remember to SIFT This link opens in a new window:


  • Check in with yourself-are you experiencing strong emotions while reading? If so, maybe check to see if the language used is trying to manipulate your feelings to lean a certain way. 

Investigate the source

  • Who is the author of the article or video? Do they have the credentials or background to provide objective expertise in a certain subject area?

Find better coverage

  • How many other sources have reported on this topic? Can you find a number of reliable sources that all hold the same claim? If not, you may want to reconsider the source. 

Trace claims, quotes and media to the original context

  • Are citations provided? Can you find the original research and come to your own conclusions? Is the version of the story you are reading as unbiased as possible?