Most research starts off by finding a topic that interests you most.
Want to find a good topic for your research?
Concepts and Keywords
Once you have determined your topic, you will need to develop the question or questions that your research will try to answer. One of the best ways to identify potential research questions is to identify concepts or keywords pertaining to your topic. These keywords will guide you to develop a search strategy.
Key steps to follow while developing your topic:
Concept mapping or "clustering" "is a spatial technique that generates associations and seeks connections among them. You begin by writing a work or phrase in the middle of a blank page and circling it. As associations occur to you, you write them down and circle them, connecting them by a line to the work/phrase that gave rise to the association. As you continue this process beyond the first words/phrases surrounding the original word/phrase, you will develop larger clusters in some places than in other. The well-developed clusters may suggest the most promising ways to develop your topic" Henderson, Eric. (2012) The active reader: Strategies for academic reading and writing (2nd ed.) Don Mills, Canada: Oxford, p 73.
Choosing Keywords to narrow or broaden your topic
If your topic is too broad, you may want to narrow it topic by identifying keywords that will limit your search by Age, Sex, Gender, Geographic Information, etc. If your topic is too narrow however, you may want to use broader headings and generalize them.
For example: What is the environmental impact of the disposal of plastic bottles?
Thanks to LMU/LA for content: http://libguides.lmu.edu/c.php?g=419920&p=2864276
Tips on searching:
Tips for evaluating search results:
Doing research to find resources for your paper will take time. While it is tempting to use only the first few resources you find, they may not necessarily be the best resources for your purposes, so it is important to evaluate the resources as you find them. Doing this will help you to determine whether or not you need to find more resources, or if you can stop searching and move on to the next stage of the writing process.
Reading abstracts is a quick way to determine the quality or usefulness of a resource. Most databases you search will provide abstracts along with the title of the work, the author(s), and the publisher.
Whether you are unsure whether to use an article or a website that you found on the internet, evaluate the source using RADAR (Rationale, Authority, Date, Accuracy, and Relevance):
Adapted from: Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal of Information Science, 39(4), 470–478,
A citation, or reference, is the quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing of someone else's work, used as a basis for your own ideas and research.