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Getting Started: Library Research Strategy

This guide is intended to help you develop a strategy for conducting research.

Choosing a Topic

When choosing a topic, it is important for students to choose a topic that they are really interested in. There is nothing worse than trying to write a paper on a topic that you find boring or uninteresting, so  pick a topic that will keep you excited as you go through the research process.

Be aware that selecting a good topic may not be easy. It must be narrow and focused enough to be interesting, yet broad enough to find adequate information. Before choosing a topic, make sure that you know what the final project should look like. Each class or instructor may require a different format or style of research project.

Let's take a look at some examples of topics.

Ex: Discuss depression from countries around the world (too broad?)
Ex: Discuss depression in adolescents with learning disabilities from Southeast Missouri during the Vietnam War (too narrow?)

The first example might lead us to hundreds and maybe thousands of resources, whereas the second example may lead us into finding absolutely no resources at all. Try to find a topic that falls somewhere between these two extremes.

Ex: Discuss some causes of depression in adolescents in the United States.

After choosing a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow, it may be helpful to list and define some key terms relating to your topic.