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Developing a Specific Research Topic

Finding a good research topic takes time and effort. Don't get frustrated if you have difficulties choosing a topic initially. Ask yourself:
 

  • What about this class interests me the most?

  • Is there anything I have read in the textbook or other class-related readings that has sparked my interest?

  • Can I remember any conversations with classmates, my professor, or others that could serve as the basis for a good research topic?
     

With those ideas about your topic in mind, you are ready to start researching. 

Give yourself plenty of time to search on your own, ask a librarian for guidance, or go back to your instructor if you need to refine your topic. 
 

We hear great topics from students. Sometimes these topics are so unique and brilliant that data and research has not yet been compiled and published about them. Before you give up and switch topics, be sure to Ask a Librarian. If there isn't any data on the subject, alter your topic based on that data you do find. Watch the tutorial below to get started.

Developing a Topic

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Finding Keywords for Your Topic 

Keywords and Synonyms

Why Keywords?
•    Good keywords are essential to quality research.
•    The more keywords you can think of, it is more likely you will find what you are looking for.
Why Synonyms?
Synonyms make your list of keywords longer. More keywords = better searching = more results. Look at the example below to get an idea of how synonyms can broaden your understanding of a given concept:
 
Our advice: 

•    Make lists of keywords for the main concepts of your research topic.
•    Use single words or simple phrases.
•    Be prepared that this may all change as you learn more information through your research.
•    Be flexible and be adaptable in your thinking.
•    Use a thesaurus to help generate synonyms.

Questions? Please contact

Katherine Jones

Undergraduate Services Librarian

kathjones@ksu.edu

785.826.2637

111F Technology Center

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