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Research Process

Research Topic/Question


  • To select a topic of interest ...
  • Brainstorm on a possible topic with possible questions: Who? What? Where? Why? When? 
  • You might want to use a concept map (view video)
  • A concept map or topic worksheet (below) might be helpful.
  • You might want to explore your topic by finding background information in an encyclopedia from Credo (You might click on the drop down box & then click on Mind Map in addition to the Basic Search and enter "sleep deprivation" as an example.)   Then, try your topic!
  • You might want to explore your topic through viewpoints from the Points of View Database.
  • You might want to phrase your topic sentence as a question.   For example, "What are the connections between sleep and succeeding at school for college students?"
  • As you continue your research, you will be continually working to Organize your materials, Select new sources, and recraft your Search strategy with new "synonyms."  So please review those 3 tabs.  You will work with these in a cyclical process.  
  • You will, of course, be Evaluating your materials throughout the process.

Concept Mapping

Researching a Topic Worksheet

Researching a Topic Worksheet

Step 1. Write down your broad topic idea. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________

Step 2. List some of the aspects of your topic you might want to investigate. Below are two different approaches that you might try.

Approach #1: List one or more subtopics you wish to explore.

Subtopic: ______________________________________________________

Subtopic: ______________________________________________________

Subtopic: ______________________________________________________

Approach #2: List possible questions about your topic you might wish your research to focus on: Who? What? Where? Why? When? How? ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

Step 3. Draft a possible thesis or problem statement. ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________

Step 4. Considering your thesis or problem statement, list as many terms as you can think of which might be useful in a subject or keyword search for materials. Consider synonyms and word variations. ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________

Adapted from Central Michigan University Off-Campus Library Services Literature Review libguide.  (n.d.)  Researching a topic worksheet.Retrieved from