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How to start your research project

This guide takes you from picking a topic, identifying keywords, and the basics of research in databases.
Pre-work: Define your task

Before selecting a topic or starting your research, make sure you understand your assignment. Get the directions and rubric out and read them carefully. Consider:

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

When in doubt, consult with your instructor.

What is research?

Selecting a research topic

Topic ideas

Can’t think of a topic to research?

  1. Browse encyclopedias, such as Britannica Online.
  2. Scan your textbook.
  3. Peruse current magazines and newspapers.
  4. Discuss topics with your instructor, a librarian, or a classmate.
  5. Do a Bento search in GALILEO to see what topics and databases come up