Use The Craft of Research to help conceptualize and develop your research project.
Chapter 3: From Topics to Questions guides you through the process of asking questions to help refine your topic.
Chapter 4: From Questions to a Problem helps you shape your questions into a focused hypothesis.
Chapter 5: From Problems to Sources helps you find relevant and authoritative information.
How to Start Researching
Where to Start Searching
IMPORTANT! The tool that you should use to start searching for sources depends on the nature and scope of your topic. For some topics, you might want to start searching the Library Catalog for books. For other topics, you may need to begin by searching the journal literature in article databases.
To begin searching for journal articles about your topic, choose from the databases below. For additional databases, click on the ARTICLES & DATABASES tab.
Searching for Sources Effectively
Follow the Bibliographic Trail: One proven method for gathering reliable information efficiently is to follow the citations or references from one source to another. The author's bibliography can lead you to other sources on the topic.
Identify Keywords: Before searching the Library Catalog or other databases, take a few minutes to write down all the words that describe your topic. Use these words in keyword or Boolean searches.
Boolean Searching: Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to connect keywords for phrases in your searches. Example: (solar OR wind) AND energy AND Russia NOT Moscow.