Confused? Need help?
Librarian assistance is just a click away!
Text a Librarian by sending a SMS to (562) 888-3938.
Note: Immediate response available during library business hours. After hours, we will respond upon next opening of Library Reference.
Visit our Facebook page and become a fan of our page for important library updates.
7 Steps to Choosing a Research Topic
1. Identify and develop your topic
2. Find background information
3. Use your library catalog to find books and reference materials
4. Use periodical databases (or indexes) to find articles
5. Find reputable internet resources
6. Evaluate your results
7. Cite your resources
Step 1: Identify and develop your topic
Sometimes the hardest part of research is deciding on a topic. Check with your instructor first to see if there are any topic requirements or suggested topics that you are supposed to choose from. If you have your choice of a topic to research, here are some suggestions on how to find ideas for your topic:
- Consider your current courses – are there papers you will be writing
that you need
to do research for? Check your other class work first before finalizing your topic.
- Think of what you have read in the news that interests you enough to learn more about.
- Personal interests that you would like to know more about.
- Career or school related interests
- Current new social issues
Be sure to avoid overused topics as the abundance of relevant information to choose from can be overwhelming (death penalty, abortion, immigration etc.)
This guide has suggested topics broken down by category. Take a look around for some inspiration!