It can be a challenge to determine an essay topic or a research question. Here you will find a how-to guide and useful tools to explore as you consider potential research questions.
Step One Evaluate how much you know about the topic and do some prelimianry searches to explore the topic. Use any of the following tools to explore a potential topic, looking for background information, related issues, and good summaries.
Step Two Read the overview material found in step one to gain a good understanding of the scope of the topic, and to explore subtopics or related topics, key issues, different opinions, key figures, places and so on. As you read, record keywords or terms that you think may be useful for your future search.
Step Three Select one or two more articles to read for collecting backgrounding information. List additional keywords.
Step Four Draft your research question and start searching in a Libraries database using the keywords you have recorded. A good place to start searching for journal articles, for Biology students, is the Web of Science database. Other article databases are listed under the Find Articles tab of this Subject Guide.
Note: This page has been adapted from an original page created by Ying Lui, another UVic Subject Librarian.