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Research Help:  Choose a Topic


Choose topic | Find background info | Research strategy | Find books | Find articles | Find reference sources
Find web sites | Obtain materials not at WUStL | Evaluate sources | Cite sources


The very first step in the research process is choosing a topic that is not too broad or too narrow in scope.

To help you define a good topic you are advised to do one or all of the following: use reference sources (such as encyclopedias); consult other sources as suggested on the page find and read background information; consult with your instructor or TA; or consult with a librarian who specializes in the field of study you are researching.

If you think you have a good topic or are getting close, try applying your topic ideas to the following questions listed below.

Questions to help define a research topic:


HOW?  How does the topic fit with respect to the field?
WHERE?  Where does the topic take place geographically or culturally?
WHEN?  When did your topic become important or of issue?
WHO?  Who are the people involved or affected?
WHY?  Why is the topic important?
WHAT?  What makes your research unique?


Choose topic | Find background info | Research strategy | Find books | Find articles | Find reference sources
Find web sites | Obtain materials not at WUStL | Evaluate sources | Cite sources