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Identify Your Topic

Begin by Identifying a Preliminary Topic

If you haven't been assigned or picked a topic yet, scroll down to the next box - Suggestions for Finding a Topic

State your topic idea as a question.  For example, if you're interested in finding out about the health concerns of children who consume too much junk food, you might pose the question, "What are the health concerns of children who eat too much fast food?"

Identify the main concepts or keywords in your question or research statement. In our example the keywords are:

  1. health
  2. children
  3. fast food

As you proceed with your searching, it can be useful to identify other potential search terms; use a keyword chart to help strategize your topic in anticipation of searching a variety of resources.

Suggestions for Finding a Topic

Use reference books such as encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries to learn more about your topic, understand new terms, identify key theorists, etc.  Discipline specific reference books are:

  • ​often found listed and linked on subject guides
  • locate by searching Novanet 
    A sample search - in Advance Search type dictionary OR encyclopedia in first search box and subject area in second second search box. 
  • found in CREDO, an e-collection of 800+ multidisciplinary reference books including hundreds of Topic Pages

Discuss your topic ideas with a librarian. You can schedule an appointment with your School's librarian.

Discuss your topic ideas with your professor.