If you haven't determined your research topic, try some ideas on this page to get those brain juices flowing.
Tips for college research assignments:
A solid way to approach your research is to fill in this sentence.
I'm studying __________ to investigate __________ in order to understand __________.
The first step in an effective search is defining your topic. A good library research topic usually contains 2-3 concepts. It is often in the form of a research question or statement.
Topics that have only one concept or have many concepts are hard to research.
Look at these examples for how to break a topic into concepts. We will use the concepts as keywords. See how the outcome changes when you have more or fewer concepts in a search topic:
|Topic||Number of Concepts||Outcome|
Good: Impact of obesity on the development of Type II Diabetes
|obesity and Type II Diabetes= 2||33 results in
Good: How do high school dropouts rate their self-efficacy?
|high school and dropouts and self-efficacy= 3||6 results in Academic Search Elite database|
|Too broad: Obesity||Obesity= 1||14.303 results in CINAHL Complete database|
|Too narrow: Do conflicts with 9th grade homeroom teachers result in students in Boston dropping out of school?||9th grade and homeroom and teachers and students and Boston and drop out= 6||0 results in Academic Search Elite database|
Be Aware: Are you trying to support your personal opinion? Scholars focus on measurable research, and work to avoid bias. Your opinion may not be researched, or the research may support a different conclusion.
Grab topics of interest related to current research. The Pew Research Center is a great place to start; explore the website for ideas beyond the handful listed below.
Select a short video below, or browse the TED website to find talks that will inspire and amaze you--and hopefully give you ideas for further research.
Develop a list of topics that intrigue you. Personal interest can drive your motivation and make the process meaningful.
Categories to consider: