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Writing150: Issues in Aesthetics-Professor-Mesle

Picking Your Topic Is Research

Please watch this video from NCSU Libraries prior to your library session. As you watch the video think about your own potential topic ideas, and then answer the questions below.

Background, Terminilogy


CQ Researcher (Congressional Quarterly) is a useful resource for political issues currently discussed on the floor of the US Congress and in other branches of the US Government.

Britannica   The website's mission is “To promote civility, critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting the pro and con arguments to debatable issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, freely accessible way.”


Craig, Edward. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge, 1998.
Kivy, Peter. The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics. Wiley, 2008.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Oxford Reference Online (a collection of subject encyclopedias) Reference resources help you with the background knowledge as you begin your brainstorming.

Oxford Art Online provides web access to the entire text of The Dictionary of Art (1996, 34 vols.) with annual additions of new material and updates to the text, plus extensive image links and all the sophisticated search advantages possible with an online reference source.
Access to the database is limited to 5 users.


Brainstorming keywords for searching

Research Question: How can aesthetics create or prolong a cultural/social issue?

Brainstorming and generating search terms involves thinking in terms of

  • synonyms,
  • antonyms,
  • related terms,
  • free associations.


A close reading of your assignment: philosophy, personal meaning, creative, insightful, cliché, felling, hate, love, ideas, aesthetics, art

aesthetics: art, beauty, ugliness, sublime, reflection, creativity, taste, judgement, reason, value, education, feeling, emotions, desire, politics, morality, innovation, revelation, insight, provocation


Examples of search terms, and how to use quotes and AND

aesthetics and issue

painting and "status quo"

narrower terms

Picasso and Guernica

remix culture and aesthetics

slow fashion and style

related terms & synonyms & antonyms

"modern art" and controversy and ugly

compassion and politics

refugees and representation