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FILA 150 Ignorance is Bliss Class Guide


Welcome to the FILA 150 Ignorance is Bliss Course Guide. This guide is designed to help you with your annotated bibliography and paper for this class. You need to find a minimum of two sources (in addition to those used for class) for this assignment. This guide is designed to help you do just that.

Some quick links in this guide:

If you're having trouble with this assignment, I am more than happy to help, as is BC's other research librarian, Vickie. Feel free to make an appointment with either one of us using the button below:

Selecting a Topic

For your Ignorance is Bliss paper assignment, you should consider an issue that may be related to your personal experience. Because you are writing in first-person voice, you will want to ensure that you select a topic that you can talk about and to which you can relate.

When trying to come up with a topic, make sure that it is something manageable. It can be really easy to choose a topic like "climate change," but the problem with that topic is that it is way too broad. What about "climate change" interests you and how can you relate it to your personal experience? As an example within your assignment, it is noted that you could relate your consumer habits to the effect on the environment, which would be a much more narrow, manageable lens for the assignment.

Below, you'll find a couple of sources that will help you in this pre-writing/topic formation stage:

Finding Example Topics

Sometimes it can help to see what other people have researched in the past. The following database contains example topics. Even if you don't pick one of their topics, seeing what other people have done can help you brainstorm. 

Just make sure that whatever topic you choose fits with the assignment. You can use the strategies mentioned above to make the topic your own. 

Keyword Searching

Keywords are the terms you will use to search for information. Just typing in your entire topic sentence is not an efficient way to search. Here are some tips for using keywords effectively.

For this class, your keywords will be relatively easy to select because you are doing research on the ideas of cognitive dissonance and self-deception. As you search for resources, consider what you might like to write about in your paper and use this as a keyword.


  • If you're interested in cognitive dissonance and your family's problematic view of the world, try using those search terms:
    • "cognitive dissonance," racism, sexism, homophobic
    • Note: when you are using a phrase like cognitive dissonance, make sure to search it in quotation marks to ensure the words appear together in your search results
  • If you're more interested in "self-deception" try using that as a search term as well

As you're searching:

  • Look for other relevant keywords
  • Keep track of the terms and indicate which ones are most successful
  • See if there are any relevant subject terms you might like to use

Keyword Searching Worksheet

The below worksheet is designed to help you get searching. It will help you find the keywords from your topic and move them towards the searching phase of this assignment. 

Keyword Searching Worksheet File

Want to try it out? Download the worksheet by clicking the link below:

Subject Headings

Librarians love to organize information. One way we do this is by using subject headings. Since some subjects can be described using various terms (like cats or felines), librarians have come up with a standardized list, or controlled list, of subjects that can be used when describing resources. This list (known as the Library of Congress Subject Headings) provides the controlled vocabulary that every librarian uses when they describe the subject of a book, DVD, or any other object in the library's catalog.

The easiest way to understand subject headings is to see it in action. The most convenient example is the library's catalog. When you pull up the full record of a title, it will give you the subject heading for that item hyperlinked, so you can search for other titles with that descriptor. 

 Example of Subject terms from catalog


You also will find subject headings in many of our online databases (like Academic Search Complete), where they help organize thousands of articles. They may not utilize the same list of subjects as the Library of Congress, you can still approach searching them the same way as in the library's catalog.

image of subject terms of Academic Search Complete