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Research Help

This guide will help you through the research process.

Choosing a Topic

Sometimes the most difficult part of the research process is choosing a topic. Here are some tips for selecting a research question.

  • Read through your assignment. Professors design an assignment for a reason. Make sure your topic adheres to their requirements and guidelines.
  • Choose a topic you are interested in. If you don't like what you're researching, chances are you won't learn a whole lot or enjoy the process. And really, what's the point?  
  • Browse resources. Find resources related to your course work. Look through a newspaper, magazine, or database for current events or hot topics. Browsing can spark great ideas and help you refine your topic.
  • Ask for help! There is nothing wrong with asking your professor or a librarian to help you brainstorm.

Where to Start

The links below are great places to start in developing a research question. Browsing current events and hot topics can spark your interest and inspire a topic.

Developing your Research Question

Try asking yourself these questions to help develop a research question:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • Why?

EXAMPLES

Topic: Obesity

Who? children

What? consumption of high fat foods

Where? school cafeterias

Question: How does the consumption of high fat foods in school cafeterias contribute to childhood obesity?

Topic: Smoke Exposure

Who? children exposed to smoke

What? developmental abilities

Question: How does smoke exposure alter the developmental abilities of children?