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School for Professional Studies

Find a Topic

Where to find a topic:

  • Class assignment
  • News articles
  • Academic journal articles
  • Encyclopedias
  • Current events
  • Personal interest

Find a topic using these library resources:

Narrow Your Topic

Narrowing a topic requires you to be more specific about your research interest, and help you develop a Research Question or Research Statement

Questions to ask to narrow your topic:

  • Who? Who is the specific person/group to which you would like to limit your research?
  • What? What specific aspect of the broad topic idea is interesting to you?
  • Where? To which specific geographic area or region would you like to limit your research?
  • When? On what time period would you like your research focused?
  • Why? Why do you think this is an important/interesting topic?

Gathering Background Information

Top 5 reasons you should gather background information before you start researching:

  1. Become more familiar with the topic and fill in gaps of knowledge
  2. Identify more specific areas of focus within the topic that interest you
  3. Help you narrow your research to more manageable focus
  4. Identify experts within the field of study
  5. Pick up on keywords and phrases that will help you search

Use these resources to gather background information:

Websites to Find Topics

Using Gale Virtual Reference Library