Information and Computer Sciences
Find a Topic
Not sure where to start? Try these tips:
- Start where you are. Think about topics that might be of interest to you. What do you already know? What would you like to know? What class papers or discussion caught your attention? Skim over your reading list or textbook for more ideas.
- Seach for relevant current events. Twitter, ScienceDaily's Computers and Math section, and popular science magazines, such as WIRED or Ars Technica, often cover recent events in the field. Do some searching and you're bound to find some ideas!
- Look for articles in your area of interest. See the short list below for some suggestions.
Use the databases below to search for overview articles and proceedings on current computer science topics:
- ACM Digital Library This link opens in a new windowJournals of the Association for Computing Machinery, its conference proceedings, magazines, technical reports, and more, 1954-present. Includes some works published by affiliated organizations. Covers the fields of computing and information technology.Available on campus to all, or off-campus to UMass Amherst students, staff and faculty with an UMass Amherst IT NetID (user name) and password.
- IEEE Xplore This link opens in a new windowAll IEEE journals (including Spectrum), standards, transactions, and major conference proceedings since 1988, plus some content since 1952, to present.Available on campus to all, or off-campus to UMass Amherst students, staff and faculty with an UMass Amherst IT NetID (user name) and password. As of May 2022, IEEE no longer supports Internet Explorer, please use another browser for the best experience.
- Synthesis Digital Library of Engineering and Computer Science This link opens in a new windowPeer-reviewed, expert reports on research and development topics in engineering and computer science; includes access to Complete Collections One, Two, Three, and Four.Available on campus to all, or off-campus to UMass Amherst students, staff and faculty with an UMass Amherst IT NetID (user name) and password.
Gather Background Information
Gather background information on your topic to help you:
- Focus your topic
- Hone your search
- Define specific terms and phrases
- Identify the big players or experts in the field
Encyclopedias, Biographies, or Handbooks are all excellent places to find more background information.
- Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering This link opens in a new windowIncludes over 450 articles, each authored by an expert in the field and peer reviewed, covering the latest advances and findings in computer science and engineering.
Includes topics covering Artificial Intelligence; Vision; Software systems, data and knowledge engineering; Computer architectures, networks, and interconnects; VLSI Technology; Computer Systems; Performance evaluation and real-time computing; Theory and Algorithms; and Applications.Available on campus to all, or off-campus to UMass Amherst students, staff and faculty with an UMass Amherst IT NetID (user name) and password.
- Gale Virtual Reference Library This link opens in a new windowA collection of several hundred current subject encyclopedias.Available on campus to all, or off-campus to UMass Amherst students, staff and faculty with an UMass Amherst IT NetID (user name) and password.
Refine Your Topic
Writing your research question/thesis:
Your topic of interest is typically phrased as a one sentence statement at the beginning of your project. This statement (or thesis) should be specific. It will also need to cover what you are discussing in your paper and should be supported by the evidence you present.
- Who? Who is the specific person or group you would like to focus on? Who is this topic important to?
- What? What part of your topic are you specifically interested in?
- When? What time period is of interest to you?
- Where? Where would you like to focus your research? What area or region is most interesting?
- Why? Why do you think this is an important or interesting topic?
It's okay if your thesis statement changes as you write! Research is an iterative process, so you may go through a few thesis statements before you finish your project.
If you feel lost, contact a librarian or your instructor -- they're able to help you think about your topic and focus it as necessary.
- Last Updated: Nov 3, 2022 5:18 PM
- URL: https://guides.library.umass.edu/compsci
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