Library DIY (beta)
Discover a Focused Topic
Make sure your topic meets the assignment requirements. Choose a topic that is interesting to you. If you are unsure, ask your professor for feedback.
Develop an Effective Research Question
- Read scholarly subject encyclopedias for background research to learn more about your topic and find keywords;
- Brainstorm related concepts and keywords. For example, if your topic is "vegetarianism," write down synonyms or related terms: vegans, whole grains, animal rights.
Searches work best if you connect keywords and short phrases that are linked together with the Boolean operator AND:
- Not focused: Do university students in Portland, Oregon reflect the demographics of the surrounding area?
- Better: diversity AND universities AND Portland
If your search is too broad there will be too many results. More specific keywords will narrow the results:
- Too broad: Diversity AND education
- Better: Diversity AND universities AND history
If your search is too narrow, there will not be enough results. Less specific keywords will find more results:
- Too narrow: History AND diversity AND private universities AND Portland, Oregon
- Better: History AND diversity AND universities AND Oregon
Find More Information
- Read your course readings and class notes for ideas.
- Check out the Subject Guides for subject encyclopedias, books, databases, and other scholarly materials.
- Read Subject Encyclopedias for scholarly background information.
- Talk to your instructor or Ask a Librarian.
Watch the video, Background Information, to learn more about scholarly subject encyclopedias:
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- Last Updated: Nov 19, 2021 2:28 PM
- URL: https://guides.library.pdx.edu/library_DIY_beta
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