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Research Strategies: Choosing Topics

This LibGuide is designed to provide you with several ideas and starting points for beginning your research.

Tips for Choosing Topics

As you begin your academic research, look first to the requirements of your assignment if you have one.  You may find specific instructions for the type of resources to search.  If your assignment is open to your choosing, consider these sources for topic ideas.

Browse your textbook

Review subject encyclopedias

Peruse magazines and journals in your field (what hot topics are covered?)

Try a broad Internet search to get started (what topics re-occur?)

Search the Encyclopedia Britannica

Find and Use a Word Cloud Generator on the Internet

Selecting Library Databases

Library databases fall into two categories: multi-disciplinary (general) and subject oriented (i.e. PsycNet or Ovid Nursing Full-Text Complete).  Read the brief database descriptions to be sure you are accessing material relevant to your search.  

Search Terms

Once you have a topic idea, you need to begin thinking about how to conduct a search to find information.  What terms will you use to characterize your topic in a database?