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Library Research Tutorial: Adapted from Canvas Course

This Research Guide runs through the same information as the Library Tutorial course in Canvas. Use this guide to quickly access that information without needing to log into Canvas, and use it as a refresher for the main points in the Canvas tutorial.

How do I Define a Topic?

Some instructors may require you to use a topic from a prepared list, but often you will be able to choose any topic related to your course.

Choosing a Research Topic: 

  • Suitable for your assignment's requirements.  If you are not sure, check with your instructor before you start to search for information.
  • Not too broad or too narrow for the assignment.  Here are some tips for narrowing a broad research topic:
  • Focus on a population, ethnic or age group. For example: infants, college students, senior adults, Asian Americans, etc..
  • Focus on a geographical area or environment.  For example:  public schools in cities or rural towns in the Great Plains.
  • Focus on a particular theory. For example: positivism, constructivism, behaviorism, or feminist theory
  • Focus on a certain author, movement, or historical event.
  • Interesting to you personally.  If you need help choosing from a list of assigned topics, ask for help from the Writing Center or speak with a librarian.

Defining the Research Topic:

  • state your topic either as a research question
    • (for example): "What effect does television violence have on children?
  • OR give your topic as a research statement in one or two sentences 
    • (for example): "Watching television with too much violence can have a negative impact on children."