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Defining Your Topic

Module Two: Getting Ready for Research

Information Literacy Tutorial Main Menu

The very first step in conducting a more “formal” research process involves choosing and defining a topic. Your topic choice affects your research processes directly. If you choose your topic well, you may have an easier time during the information gathering phase.

Things to consider:

  • What's interesting to you?
    It’s less painful if you are able to choose something you are interested in, or can use for a related or later class.
  • How long does your paper need to be?
    If your topic is too narrow or too broad, you may have problems having not enough or too much information.
  • Timeliness/currency
    Is this topic recent enough to be relevant? Has there been enough time for material to be pubished about this topic? Is your topic outdated for your field?
  • Have you been assigned a topic by a professor?
    If so, you need to complete the assignment given following your professor’s guidelines.
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