Is this you?
If you agree with any of the above statements, you are on the right page. The resources linked on this page will help you figure out how to pick a topic for your assignment and teach you about the research process in general.
Researching information for an assignment is not a one-shot deal. You will likely have to do several searches as you narrow down your topic, look for background information, and find the scholarly sources you need to complete the assignment. The Research Process is not a straight path that everyone follows in exactly the same way. This can be frustrating and time consuming, but the resources below will help you along in the process.
Picking a Topic
Your instructor and the specifics of the assignment should help you with picking a topic. But what if you need some inspiration? It's always a good idea to pick something you are interested in otherwise it will be difficult to stay motivated about researching something you don't really care about.
Think about current events and controversial topics. Look at what is happening in the world right now. Keep up with the news and see if anything strikes your interest. Whether it's national politics, environmental issues or cultural events, looking at news events from the last few weeks can help you choose a topic.
|Fox News||Wall Street Journal|
Opposing Viewpoints covers hottest social issues, such as offshore drilling, climate change, health care, and immigration. Has full text, editor selected articles. Helps students research, analyze and organize a broad variety of information for conducting research, completing writing assignments, preparing for debates, creating presentations and more.
It is possible that the topic you chose based on your interests is too broad for the assignment you need to do. You cannot write a 5 page paper on the topic of Feminism, for example. You would have too much information to work with and your paper would be a jumble of too many things.
You do not have to change your topic completely but there are ways to narrow it down to make it easier to research and write about.
Try the "KWL exercise"
Take the time to answer these questions about your topic:
I am interested in doing my project on higher education in the United States. That topic is too broad right now so I need to narrow it down.
Extra Help with Narrowing Down Topic
You probably type in a question or word if you want a quick answer/definition. For example, "What time is it in Hawaii?" or "Where is the nearest Starbucks?"
Or, you type in a phrase: "the EU and refugees" or "Flint Water Crisis"
Library Databases are different from Google.
You will have a hard time if you treat your Library Database searches the same as your Google searches.
Database searching works best when you deconstruct your topic or question into Keywords. Click here to learn more about developing keywords for database searches and how to develop your search strategy.