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Select a topic that interests you:
Start by choosing a topic that interests you and that you can cover in the time and space required for your project.
Do preliminary searches:
Do a few searches in the Library Catalog or article databases before commiting to your topic. You may find that you need to narrow or broaden your topic based on what you discover.
Read background information:
Take a few minutes to read about your topic in a specialized encyclopedia, dictionary or handbook. These sources will provide you with background information, as well as lists of other sources to get you started on your research.
Make a list of words that describe your topic:
Write your topic out as a short sentence or question and look at the different components that make up your statement. From these components, start compiling a list of words, as well as synonyms that describe your topic. Use these words to search for your topic in the Library Catalog and in Article Databases.
Focus on scholarly sources:
Use primarily scholarly or peer-reviewed sources. Such sources are typically not freely available on the Web and cannot be found by searching Internet search engines like Google or Yahoo. Click on the Databases tab above.
Keep a log of your search process:
Keep track of what sources and search terms "work" and which ones do not.
Cite as you go:
Even if you're not sure whether you will use a source, it's much easier to note the citation information up front than to decide you need it later!