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Developing a Topic
1. Select a topic
2. Identify keywords
3. Find background information
Choose a topic that interests you and will hold your attention. If you do, the research will be more enjoyable!
Select a Topic
Define the Task
Before selecting a topic or starting your research, make sure you understand your assignment. Consider:
- Have you been assigned a topic or can you pick your own?
- How many pages/words do you need to write? How long is your presentation?
- Do you need to include specific types of sources (e.g. scholarly journal, book, etc.)?
- When is the assignment due? How much time do you have to research?
- Is currency of information important?
When in doubt, consult with your instructor.
Can’t think of a topic to research?
- Scan your textbook.
- Look through current magazines and newspapers.
- Browse encyclopedias.
- Look at the "hot topic" databases listed below.
- Discuss topics with your instructor, a librarian or a classmate.
NCLIVE This link opens in a new window
a cooperative library service for the students, faculty, business people, and residents of North Carolina. The website allows access to digital content such as eBooks, eJournals, streaming video, and downloadable audiobooks offered from a variety of vendors.
Education Week This link opens in a new window
Education Week, is recognized as the premier, most trusted source of news, information, and analysis on American pre-collegiate education. Education Week seeks to advance the quality of K-12 education, using a variety of tools both old and new, including the EPE Research Center, Education Week Spotlight reports, and EPE webinars which bring fresh insights and advice to educators online.
CQ Researcher This link opens in a new window
Reports on issues shaping our world, with in-depth coverage of political and social issues, such as health, education, the environment, technology, and the U.S. economy.
G.R. Little Library
Elizabeth City State University