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Culinary Arts: Food Topics for Research

This is a guide to information resources in the field of culinary arts.

Explore Topics

Need a topic for a research paper? Curious about an issue, movement, trend? Check out some of our resources in these areas.

Getting Started

  • Need some background information about a topic?
  • Need to understand an issue or concept better?
  • Need definitions for some of the terms people use to talk about your topic?

Use Reference Sources!

  • Take notes
  • Start to organize your ideas.
  • Ask lots of questions.

Moving Ahead

Now's the time to look for:

  • Books
  • Magazine and journal articles
  • Media sources
  • Reports (for some topics)

Strategies for searching

  • Think about how new or popular or important your topic is. This can help you decide what to look for. Brand new topics usually don't have books or documentaries about them.
  • Decide what type of resources you want to find, and pick the matching research tools. Librarians will help with this.
  • Brainstorm search terms to describe the information you want to find. The words you use make a difference. Check out the suggestions for search terms on different pages in this guide.

Strategies for selecting resources.

  • Think about your timeline for the project. If you have a looming due date, pick shorter works, and things that are available quickly.
  • Test out your search terms until you see results that look relevant. Not getting there? Ask a librarian.
  • Learn to skim your results lists for items that look possible. Pick out more resources than you need. You will weed some of them out when you start to read more deeply.
  • Think about where your sources are coming from. What makes you think the author/creator knows what s/he is talking about? Not sure? Ask for help.

Don't forget to collect citation information as you go!

Strategies for Finding a Topic

Don't know what to write about? Here are some ways to get ideas.

  • Explore different topic pages listed above.
  • Look through your textbook or notes.
  • Browse the Food Section of the New York Times.
  • Check out the topics list in Opposing Viewpoints for food-related topics.
  • Pick out a food magazine or blog to browse for topic ideas.
  • Check out our page on trends.
  • Come poke around in the book collection.

Read and Write

  • Gather your sources.
  • If your topic has several facets, try to divide the sources up according to what parts of your overall topic they address.
  • Start reading. You will probably need to read your most important sources several times. Take notes and highlight material you want to go back and look as you write.
  • Organize your ideas into an outline.
  • Start writing.
  • You may find that you need to check some facts, or look for more sources about some idea that becomes more important as you write about it. That's a normal part of the research process. Get help if you need it.
  • Remember that you can send your drafts to the tutors for feedback and suggestions.