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Using the Library for Research: Select a Topic

A student or researcher can save much time and avoid unnecessary frustration by following a basic library research strategy. Use this guide to show you the way.

Library Research Strategy

Using the library for research is time consuming and can sometimes be frustrating.  A researcher can save much time and avoid unnecessary frustration by following a basic library research strategy, which involves:

1.  selecting a topic

2.  finding background information

3.  restricting a topic

4.  locating information in books, magazines and journals, newspapers, and other sources

5.  evaluating the sources of information

6.  citing and documenting sources of information

 Once you select your topic, you may not need to go through every step in your search process, nor do you have to exactly follow the sequence of the steps shown above.  This basic library research strategy is to help you make the best use of your time in the library.   Most often, a quality result will be produced by being as complete and thorough as possible.  Make use of all the resources and services that are available to you.

Select a Topic

In making your choice of a topic, make sure you select a topic:

a)  that really interests you

b)  that you can cover adequately within the time and limits assigned

c)  about which you can find an appropriate amount of information

Use this Resource

An excellent source for topic selection is CQ Researcher.   See the link to this resource below.   Older editions in paper copy are (Ref. 070 E45) located in the Reference Area of the Kinlaw Library.  In addition, you may want to consult with a Reference Librarian on the choice of a good topic.  We can discuss the parameters of your assignment and suggest approaches that will work best.