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Research 101: Library Research Methods: Home

Subject Guide

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Research Overview

This guide outlines the steps in the research process from developing a topic to crediting sources:

  1. Find Your TopicChoose a topic that you have an interest in and that you might even be excited about.  
  2. Find Resources : Start your search with Primo VE Search
  3. Evaluate Resources
  4. Writing
    • Find strategies and resources to help you write and craft the best argument for your paper topic
  5. Citing
    • ​​Take the time to understand plagiarism and track your citations with RefWorks or other citation management tool.

Research Tip: Broaden Your Topic

Not finding enough information? Is your topic too specific?  Consider these approaches: 

  • Is your topic is too specific?
    • ​​​​​​​Generalize what you are looking for. For example: if your topic is genetic diversity for a specific ethnic group in Ghana, Africa, broaden your topic by generalizing to all ethnic groups in Ghana or in West Africa.
  • Is your topic is too new?
    • ​​​​​​​for anything substantive to have been written.  If you're researching a recently new topic or concept, you are likely to only find information about it in the news media. Be sure to search databases that contain articles from newspapers. 
  • Have you checked other databases or other sources for information? 
    • ​​​​​​​Use other databases that might cover the topic from a different perspective. 
  • Are you using the right keywords, less common words, or too much jargon? 
    • Use a thesaurus to find other terms to represent your topic. Additionally, look at the articles or other literature that you find relevant for the keywords that authors use.  

Research Tip: Narrow Your Topic

Is your topic too broad? Too much many resources?  Make your results list more manageable and relevant

Here are some ideas

  1. Theoretical approach:  Limit your topic to a particular approach or theory to the issue.  For example, if your topic is about artificial intelligence,  examine the theories surrounding of the one aspect of AI application and development.
  2. Aspect or sub-topic: Consider only one piece of the topic.  For example, if your topic is artificial intelligence, investigate AI and policy.
  3. Time:  Limit the time span you examine.  For example, on a topic in AI, maybe focus on the last  five years.
  4. Gender, age, and sex. For example, social media and children
  5. Geography:  A geographic analysis can be useful to examine an issue.  For example, if your topic is about human enhancement technologies,  investigate these technologies and its applications in Asia versus U.S.

Books: Help with Research