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The Research Assignment - 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.
Selecting a Topic - Overview
How to Select a Research Topic
Read through this page from the Thompson Library at The University of Michigan-Flint. It gives detailed instructions for selecting and developing a research topic.
Can’t think of a topic to research?
- Scan your textbook.
- Peruse current magazines and newspapers.
- Read background information on your topic in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses.
- Discuss topics with your instructor, a librarian or a classmate.
Article and Newspaper Databases
Do some preliminary searches in general article and newspaper databases to get ideas for a research topic.
Choose a topic that interests you and will hold your attention. If you do, the research will be more enjoyable!