Whenever you are given the freedom to do so, select a topic that genuinely interests you and/or is relevant to your life. Do a quick inventory:
You'll want to consider the following issues before you select your topic:
You can get ideas for research topics from several library databases and from the Web.
Click on the button below (then scroll down) to browse our Pick a Topic databases:
Researchers can spend their lives exploring topics. They publish books and articles, conduct studies, present at conferences, teach classes, etc. As a student, you don’t have a lifetime to devote to your topic and you probably won’t be publishing a book. Rather, you will have just a few weeks, and your end product will likely be something along the lines of a 6-10 page research paper or a 5-8 minute speech.
Once you identify a strong topic you need to find a manageable focus for your work. Focusing involves clearly defining the specific aspect of the topic you will explore. Think of formulating a guiding research question that captures the main idea of your research. In short: what are you trying to figure out?
Things to Consider When Focusing:
Methods to Help You Focus:
Doing some background reading at the beginning of your research helps you to understand your topic right from the start. You'll be able to put your topic in context and create research questions that drive your search for information. In addition, when you begin hunting and gathering information, you’ll know if what you’re finding is relevant and useful.
You need to begin understanding your topic early in order to know:
You don't even have to read a lot of books to get this valuable background information. Reference books, like encyclopedias and dictionaries, are a wonderful place to start your reseach.
The MJC Library subscribes to several online databases that are great for finding background information. Try searching in...