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A helpful guide offering resources on writing, grammar, and citation.


All research begins with brainstorming and will help answer these questions, making the research process easier!

  • What topic am I researching?
  • What kind of research am I doing?
  • What types of resources do I need to do my research?
  • Where can I find those resources?

Background Research

When researching, put your topic in context. Performing background research to understand the history of the issue or a broad range of perspectives about the issue will help you formulate the best possible argument. You might even discover aspects of the issue of which you were previously unaware.

Remember subject-specific reference tools, like medical encyclopedias or drug dictionaries, are often more useful than generic resources that are not written for academic research or professionals.

Narrowing Research Topics

Assignment Requirements

The most important resource for determining how to select a topic and begin your research is your assignment's guidelines. Make sure that you read the guidelines more than once and check anything you do not understand with your professor. It is often helpful to highlight, circle, or underline any requirements, such as paper length, resource requirements, recommended topics, due dates, or any other aspects of the assignment that are crucial to assignment completion. Then create a list of materials that you will need to complete the assignment and set up a timeline with your goals.