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101 Research Basics


Are you assigned a topic, or choosing one for yourself?

Tips on Choosing a research topic:

  • Brainstorm...write down your ideas.
  • Don't bore yourself!  Choose a topic that you are interested in. 
  • Narrow your topic, don't choose something too general.
    • If your topic is too broad, you will find too much information.
    • If your topic is too narrow, you won't find enough information.
    • Do a bit of background research with a simple internet or Wikipedia search.  This can help you choose and limit the scope of your topic. 
  • Consult subject lists in various databases.
  • Remember that your topic will evolve as you complete your research, embrace this fluidity.

Use topical databases to find an interesting subject and learn key facts about it.

Databases with Topics

Background Information

Look at reference and popular materials to find key terms for your topic and identify important people, organizations, and points of view.