Research & Instruction Librarian
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In This Guide
The resources that have been selected are a place to get started with research in your section's topic. Preus Library has many more resources. If you cannot find something, please ask at the Research Help Desk or email me.
Research as Inquiry, Scholarship as Conversation
What are you curious about?
What do you still have questions about?
This might seem obvious, but your topic should interest you!
How can you contribute to the conversation?
Are there gaps in existing research?
Can you approach a topic from a new angle or perspective?
Picking a topic is research, too!
This video (3 minutes) describes the process of choosing and testing out a topic. See more tips below the video, too!
Search terms, or keywords, are words or phrases we use to describe the topic we are researching. Using good search terms can make locating information easier. Some tips for brainstorming search terms include:
The 4 W's: What is the who, what, when, and where of your topic? The answers to these can all be helpful search terms. Use reference resources to help you find the answers if you do not know.
Synonyms: List as many synonyms for your topic as you can. If you need help, use the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus.
Mind Maps: Write your main topic in a circle. Draw smaller circles connected to your main topic and write different related subtopics. Repeat that step with your subtopics, writing in even more focused subtopics. See this example from MindTools.
Draw a Time Line: Create a timeline of events related to your topic using reference resources. These events and dates can help you narrow your topic focus.
Keep your list of terms you created while you work on your project. As you continue your research, you may want to create new search terms and remove ones that are not helpful. This is okay and part of the research process.