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Research: Step by Step

Choosing Your Topic

If your professor is allowing you to pick your own topic, think carefully. You want to make sure you pick something that has research available. Follow these steps:

  1.  Know your assignment and what your professor expects. Reading your assignment instructions thoroughly before starting your research will help you develop a good topic.
     
  2. Think of topics that you're interested in that meet the assignment guidelines. Researching a topic that is of interest to you will make the research process more fun.
     
  3. Instead of starting out with a set answer in mind, think of your topic as a question to investigate. (Example: How does social media affect body image?). You want to be open to what the research supports rather than just trying to find things to support your view.

If you're still uncertain, try checking out the Opposing Viewpoints database. This database collects information on controversial topics and is a great place to look for ideas that will have a lot of supporting material. You might also want to check the news for interesting stories that you'd like to research further.

Once you've selected a topic, it's time to move on to Step 2: Develop a Search Strategy.