If you have an assigned topic, you may wish to discuss it with your professor. Be sure you understand the professor's expectations and clarify any questions you may have.
If you need to develop a topic of your own
- Scan your textbook for broad topic ideas.
- Look at magazines and journal articles to find an interesting topic.
- Browse print and electronic encyclopedias.
- Surf websites and resources listed on the subject guide.
- Discuss potential topics with your instructor, a librarian, or a classmate.
Once you have selected an initial topic, the next step is to develop research questions.
- Write down what you already know or don't know about the topic.
- Using the information you wrote down, develop questions you'd like to answer when doing your research.
- Use probing questions such as why? how? what if? should?
- Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no.
Before you begin searching for information, identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can be found by scanning:
If you have trouble finding keywords:
- Use a print thesaurus or Microsoft Office's thesaurus tool to identify synonyms
- Find pictures related to your topic, then describe the picture
- Brainstorm keywords with a librarian, your instructor, or a friend