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IELP Library Guide for Student Research: Analyze Your Research Strategy

Choose a Topic

Double questionBrainstorm topic ideas with these questions:

  • What have you discussed in class that makes you want to learn more? 
  • Are there any social, artistic, or political issues that you are interested in that relate to your assignment?

When you have a few ideas, search for background information. 

Keep track of important keywords that you discover while researching your topic!

From Question to Keyword

This one-minute video by Laidlaw College Library (2010) shows how to brainstorm for keywords about a research question.

Topic Development

This video helps with finding a topic that is not too broad, not too narrow, but just right.

Subject Encyclopedias

Scholarly subject encyclopedias provide background information about specific topics. Entries or articles, written by scholars or subject experts, include bibliographies or suggested readings that will lead to more information on your topic.

You can use subject encyclopedias to identify keywords for your research in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

Search for Subject Encyclopedias (PSU Only)

Dictionaries

To access dictionaries, select this link to the Dictionaries web page that includes the New American Oxford Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary. 

Good Places to Look for Topic Ideas

Your instructor understands your assignment and can provide great advice about your topic. The following resources are also useful for exploring your topic: