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Introduction to Doing Research: Choosing a Topic

For those new or returning to research, this guide will help you to plan your research projects and use the library more effectively.

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Choosing a Topic

Choosing a Topic 

This Choose and Explore a Topic tutorial will help you work through the process of selecting a research topic.

  • Part 3: Select a topic that is of interest to you and researchable
  • Part 6: Focus your topic so that it is manageable and fits your assignment.
  • Part 7: Turn your topic into a research question.

from Clark College's IRIS: Information& Research Instruction Suite

 

Or, here's a five-minute video on Developing a Research Question from Laurier University

The Information Pyramid

The Information Pyramid

To get a better idea of what kind of sources to use in your research, you can think of different types of sources and the information they provide as a pyramid.

By themselves, the individual blocks that make up a pyramid aren't very exciting, but together the result is an awesome structure. Likewise, one source is not enough to write a strong paper, but you can write a solid paper by synthesizing information gathered from a variety of sources.

 

 

Pyramid

Start at the Base

Start at the Base

Just like the lower levels of a pyramid require the most stone blocks, the sources that have the most detailed information are at the bottom of the Information Pyramid.

Scholarly articles and books take the longest to read but are the most detailed, while magazines, newspapers, television programs, and online sources are the fastest to read but often contain less specific information and a more general overview.