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POL 340 -- Political Participation and Ideology: Getting Started

The Key to Research

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The Key to Good Research -- Patience is a Virtue!!!

Picking Your Topic IS Research

Basic Research Steps

  • Select an interesting and doable topic.
  • Identify each component of your topic.
  • Select appropriate terms to describe the components and use truncation as appropriate.
  • Determine the correct use of Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).
  • Select fields to search if appropriate (author, title, subject).
  • Limit your results as necessary (date, scholarly vs. popular, etc.).
  • Evaluate your results and rethink your strategy as necessary.

Background Information

Try using a database like Credo Reference to learn about your topic and help you focus. Background reading can show you the different facets of a topic and provide you with more vocabulary words to use in your searching.

Another strategy is to locate a book on your topic and examine the chapter titles in the table of contents and entries in the index at the back of the book to learn more about aspects of the topic that could narrow your research question.

Keywords