Research is a Cycle
Research is a cyclical process. This image attempts to lay that cycle out for you. Notice how thinking/analyzing and writing down your thoughts and findings are at the center of the cycle.
Choosing a Topic
Choosing a topic can be one of the most difficult parts of the research process. Remember that research is fluid; your topic will adapt, and even completely change, as you do your research!
This short video [3:11] from North Carolina State University gives some great advice on choosing a research topic.
Choosing Databases to Search
Searching Library Databases
Database searching is different from Google searching.
- Break your topic into keywords (or key concepts)
- Combine with AND to get fewer results (homelessness AND college students)
- Combine with OR to get more results (college OR university)
- Try different searches using different combinations of your keywords
- As you skim your results, look for new keywords or ideas that relate to your topic
- Keep trying! Searching often takes time and requires multiple searches in a few different databases
- Ask for help
When searching in databases, you can use limits (normally on the left of your search results page) to focus on specific publication years, article types, etc.
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