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Library Research: Choosing a Topic

Choosing a Topic

Getting Started

The first step in the research process is to be sure you understand the assignment.

  • Read through it carefully and get a clear understanding of what your professor is looking for. 
  • Make sure you are know what type of assignment it is:  literature review; pro/con paper, annotated bibliography, etc. 
  • Know when the assignment is due.

Choosing a Topic

When selecting a topic, it is always a good idea to pick a topic you are interested in; the research process is more relevant if you care about your topic. Here are some tips:

Do some background reading before making a decision

Make sure your topic is not too broad or too narrow

  • Change the period of time being researched.
  • Limit by gender, age, social status, or social group.
  • Read an encyclopedia article for ideas how to broaden or narrow a topic.
    • Wikipedia can be helpful!

Begin by writing out your topic as a short statement or question

  • For example:
    • Are safe injection sites a good response to the opioid crisis?
    • What is the impact of rising college costs on students?

Identify keywords and phrases

  • For example:
    • Are safe injection sites a good response to the opioid crisis?
    • What is the impact of rising college costs on students?

Picking Your Topic IS Research