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Background Research

Start out by reading your assignment and the requirements thoroughly

Simple Searches - Often uses one keyword or phrase, such as "biology" to help grasp a more broad understanding. These are resources that help you develop a specific research question and learn the terminology you will want to use in your research. These broad resources, while informative, are not scholarly and should not be used as such in your own work. 

Research Starters - A resource that provides a broad overview of topics often utilizing encyclopedias. You can access this through GALILEO, and it can help focus or narrow your topic. 


undefined - Helpful to get a quick understanding or broad overview but unreliable in finding scholarly resources. While it can be a great place to start, it is not recommended that you finish your research here. 

Refining Your Topic

Ask yourself about the topic. 

What specifically interests me? 

  • Is there a subtopic that can be explored?
  • Does this have a cause and effect?
  • Is there something I want to know more about?

Why is this important? 

  • What/who does this information impact?
  • Are there unanswered questions?

These questions help build the stakes of your assignment. 

Come up with synonyms and alternative search words.

  • Consult a thesaurus.

Put it all together to formulate your topic and begin searching!