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EN101 Library Orientation - Most Sections: 3. Topic Selection

Tab 3 (Part 1a): Topic Research - Be Creative and Flexible!

Effective information searches are usually a group of searches.  No keyword search combination is the "correct" one; all relevant key word search combinations can contribute to your project.  Be flexible and creative.  Add to your list of  keywords as you explore several databases and search tools.

EXAMPLE:

Topic:  Early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders

Beginning searches:       autism spectrum;               early intervention and children                 

More Specific:         early intervention and autism spectrum and children;     early intervention and autism and effectiveness;        autism spectrum and preschoolers

Broader:       autism;                special education;                learning disabilities   

ANOTHER EXAMPLE:

Topic:  Polar Vortex:  How often has the US Midwest experienced such cold temperatures related to the Polar Vortex?

Beginning searches:  polar vortex AND Midwest

More Specific:  polar vortex AND OHIO; polar vortex AND history AND United States; Northern Hemisphere Stratospheric Polar Vortex AND Midwest [term obtained from a previous search];  tropospheric circulation AND United States and history; arctic polar vortex AND Midwest

Broader:  meteorology; winds AND weather; freezing air AND North Pole; freezing air AND Northern Hemisphere

YOUR TURN:

For any class project that requires information gathering, begin to grow your search term list.   Apply your list to a variety of library catalogs, article/resource databases, and other search tools.

My Topic: _______________________________________________

Beginning search terms for my topic: ______________________________________________________________

Other more specific keywords, phrases, and word combinations: ________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Broader ways to search my topic:  relevant fields, keywords, phrases, and word combinations: _________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Tab 3 (Part 1b): Topic Selection - Major Key to Success!

[Advanced Tips] HOW TO SELECT - FOCUS - STATE YOUR PROJECT TOPIC:

  • Download and save the .pdf document linked above. 
  • Review the process steps toward selecting and shaping your topic. 

Tip: A bit of time spent shaping/narrowing your topic will pay big dividends. You will work with a more manageable and appealing topic in a clear research path. Your focussed topic will have more appeal to your readers.

 What to do?  Please download the .pdf document and save/read or print/read for understanding.

Tab 3 (Part 1c) Sample Research Topics - Need Narrowing


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