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Develop a Research Strategy

There are many benefits to having a research strategy before you delve into searching for resources. What's the biggest reason to develop a research strategy? It saves you time in the long run and helps you find better resources, faster!

What You Will Learn

This guide teaches ways to find inspiration and help in choosing a topic. You will also learn tips about the importance of analyzing your topic based on paper requirements.

Watch the Video

Where to Get Ideas

Look at What You've Been Reading in Class

Are there topics from your readings that you found particularly interesting? These are probably good topics to pursue if they meet the requirements of the paper.

Look at Current Journal Articles in the Field

Reading the table of contents and abstracts from respected journals can help you find topics you may be interested in and topics on which you will likely find more articles.

Look Through Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias give you a good brief overview of a subject and from there, you can get a better idea if it is a subject you'd like to pursue.

Get Help Choosing a Topic

Ask Your Professor

If you can't come up with anything using the above methods, try asking your professor for ideas. Professors are experts in the subjects they teach and will likely have some useful suggestions for your paper.

Contact a Librarian

We can help you choose a suitable research topic and determine whether enough information exists on it, as well as good research resources to use.  Do keep in mind your instructor is the subject expert and we may refer you back to them, but will also do our best to help.

Analyzing Your Topic Based on Paper Requirements

You also want to be sure your topic is suitable based on the requirements of your assignment. Think about the assignment requirements and answer these questions before choosing a topic:

  • How long is my paper supposed to be and can I find enough information on my subject to write that much? Alternatively, is my topic too big or too general for a paper of this size?
  • What sort of resources does my instructor want me to use (scholarly journal articles, newspaper articles, government statistics, etc.) and can I find those on this topic? It's a good idea to do some pre-research to determine whether or not there are enough resources in the required formats.
  • Does the paper have to be about a current topic or the history and development of something?
  • Is this paper an opinion piece? Will you be able to find a variety of opinions and supporting evidence on this subject?

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