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Research Strategies 1: Getting Started: Assignment Requirements

Questions to Ask About Your Assignment Requirements

  • How many pages does your paper need to be?
  • How many sources are required?
  • What type of sources can you use? (magazine, journal articles, books, etc)
  • Do your sources need to be scholarly?
  • Which citation style format can you use? (MLA, APA)
  • When is it due? The Research Project Calculator can help you with time management.


Complete the Preparation for Research Worksheet to help with answering assignment requirements, selecting a topic and coming up with keywords.  

Topic Selection



  • Brainstorm your topic for keywords.
  • Ask yourself the 5 W’s (who, what, why, when, where) and how to help develop keywords.
  • Reference Resources can help you select and narrow your topic.
  • Narrow the focus of your topic to formulate a research question or thesis.
  • Can you narrow your topic to a specific….
    • Time period?
    • Event?
    • Geographical area?
    • Race, ethnicity, gender, or age group?
  • Make sure you can adequately answer the research question in the allotted number of pages required.