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Where to Start Your Research

Choosing A Topic

Once you've identified the key tasks of your project, ask yourself...

1. What do I want to know? or What is my research question?

2. Is there enough information about my topic?

3. What background information do I need? (see below) 

  • Google and Wikipedia can help!

4. What types of sources are appropriate? (ex. primary sources, books, newspapers, scholarly articles, literary criticism, etc.)

Watch the video below for help with this step:

Background Information


Why do I need to gather background information?

  • Gain familiarity with a topic
  • Provides focus for your research
  • Gain context and various perspectives
  • Find additional keywords

Reading an encyclopedia, searching Google, or scanning a Wikipedia article on a broad topic may help you narrow the focus of your topic to a more manageable level. This can also give you an idea for a topic you never even considered.

The graphic below gives examples of topics that are too broad or too narrow, along with another topic that may work for research.




Charleston Southern University Library