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Five Top Tips For Successful Research

  1. Know your topic – check spelling, definition
  2. Identify main concepts – keywords, subjects
  3. Create search strategy – find synonyms, eliminate extra words, combine keywords with “and”
  4. Choose the appropriate resources
  5. Revamp your strategy after you see results

Key Points to Remember

  • Choose a topic that you are interested in.
  • Know that almost everyone will have to change and fine tune their topic during the research process.
  • Use Library databases such as Oxford Reference Collection and Encyclopedia Britannica to gain a foundation of knowledge and understand the key issues of your possible topic. Once you attain an overview of the topic you might find you are interested in an area you previously had no knowledge of!
  • The crucial difference between Internet searching and using a Library database: a web search will only reach a very small percent of the available electronic information. To reach the more scholarly, reliable information you need to use databases available through the Library.

The Challenge of Picking a Topic

It usually makes sense to start with a broad or more general topic. It is human nature to be discouraged if you start with too narrow a topic.

Examples of Topics, Broad to Narrow

  • Smoking
    • Smoking habits in America
    • Smoking habits of Americans by Age
    • Smoking habits of teenage Americans
    • Smoking habits of underage American teenagers
    • Smoking habits of underage American female teenagers
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