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English as a Foreign Language

A guide to English language program resources in UVic Libraries

Identify Your Research Topic/question

This is a how-to guide with tools your can use to explore potential research questions.

Step One Evaluate how much you know and start some test searches to explore the topic

You may use any of the following tools to investigate your potential topic, looking for background information, related issues, and good summaries.

  • Oxford Reference Online
  • The Canadian Encyclopedia This edition of The Canadian Encyclopedia is the largest, most comprehensive book ever published in Canada for the general reader.  Also in print in the McPherson Library  Call Number: FC23 C3 1999
  • Summon Search (Strategy to try: type your keywords and add the term 'overview', for example: "solar activity" overview)
















Step Two   Read the overview to gain a good understanding of the scope of the topic, what are the subtopics or related topics, key issues, different opinions, key figures, places and so on. When reading, write down the keywords or terms that you think may be useful for your future search.

Step Three Try to select one or two more articles to read to collect background information. List additional keywords.

Step Four  Draft a research question and bring it with your list of keywords to the library research session.