Based on what you’ve been talking and reading about in class, pick a topic that interests you – after all, you will probably be spending a lot of time working on your project!
Think about different aspects of your topic and pick one that is not too narrow or too broad. If your topic is too broad, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of material you find. If your topic is too narrow, you may be frustrated by the small amount of material that is available. It’s important to be flexible – you may have to narrow, broaden, or even change your topic as you move through the research process.
Try to think of search terms, synonyms and alternative terms for your topic. For example, if your topic is the California Gold Rush you might consider terms such as:
Once you have identified the main topic and keywords, look for background information. Good places to look for background information include general reference sources, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries. Background information can:
Did you find too much information on your topic?
A topic that results in too much information is a common problem, and you may need to make your topic more specific. If you are having trouble narrowing your topic, consider the following questions:
Didn’t find enough information on your topic?
If your subject is too focused or detailed, you may have a hard time finding enough information. In this case, you will need to broaden your topic. If you find too little information, you can broaden the scope of your topic by: