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The Research Process

Tip!

Choose a topic that interests you and will hold your attention. If you do, the research will be more enjoyable!

Topic Ideas

 Can’t think of a topic to research? 

  • Scan your textbook for broad topic ideas.
  • Peruse current magazines and newspapers to see what catches your eye. A great way to do this is to use Proquest and click on "Publications" near the top of the screen.
  • Browse print and electronic encyclopedias. Try Credo Reference, where you can search hundreds of encyclopedias and other reference books.
  • Look at "hot topic" databases, such as CQ Researcher or Pro and Con Online, which feature articles on current events and controversial issues.
  • Discuss potential topics with your instructor, a librarian or a classmate.

The Research Assignment

Before selecting a topic or starting your research, make sure you understand your assignment and its requirements. Consider the following:

  • Have you been assigned a topic or can you pick your own?
  • How many pages/words do you need to write? How long is your presentation?
  • Do you need to include specific types of sources? (e.g. scholarly journal, book, etc.)
  • When is the assignment due? How much time do you have to research?
  • Is currency of information important?

When in doubt, consult with your instructor.