Exploring Research Topics

Are you struggling with finding the right topic for your research paper? This short Research Therapy video gives you suggestions on where to look for topic ideas, how to narrow your topic, as well as a couple of online library resources that are a great place to begin your research.

Topic Exploration image for video

Concept Mapping

Concept mapping is a great way to expand on a general topic; it also helps you to think about the different aspects of your topic. Here’s a template for a basic concept map. Here’s another concept map when you’re trying to identify the who, what, when, where, why or how of a topic.

As mentioned in the video keep in mind the different angles you could take on a topic:

  • Geographical → where
  • Sociological → who
  • Psychological → why
  • Historical → when

Library Databases

After you pick a general topic it’s a good idea to do some general background resources. Oviatt Library has several different online reference resources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographical resources and more. The databases mentioned in the video are Opposing Viewpoints in Context and Credo Reference, the library no longer has access to Credo so use Gale Virtual Reference instead.  We also have a list of online reference resources listed under the Find Articles by Subject page, as well as an organized list of our databases by subject.  We also have a general Research Strategies guide to help you along with the research process.

Don’t forget to Ask a Librarian if you have any questions.

 -Laurie Borchard

 

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