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University of Oregon

Getting Started with Research

A guide to help with the essentials of library research

Choosing a Topic


Picking Your Topic

Sometimes you have too many ideas... or you have no idea where to begin.



Getting Started 

  • Make sure you understand your assignment. Talk to your professor or graduate assistant if you have any questions.
  • Think about your interests. What would you like to spend time learning more about? Look over your course materials and lecture notes for ideas. Write down a list of keywords and phrases that interest you.
  • Use a topic ideas database such as CQ Researcher. Read current periodicals, browse the internet, and check out reference resources and encyclopedias such as Gale Virtual Reference Library
  • Be careful not to pick a topic too narrow or too broad. You might not be able to find enough relevant information or you might be overwhelmed with too much information. As you start your research, you might need to adjust your topic. 
  • Check out the Research Guide for your subject area, which will include links to helpful resources commonly used by researchers. Our subject specialist librarians create these guides -- contact yours with questions and to get personalized help with your research. 


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