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Choosing a Topic

Choosing Keywords

Find Background Information

What are the most basic concepts people need to know in order to understand the topic?

Big picture information could include a basic background, definitions, important events, significant people, or related issues for your topic. It is the starting point you need in order to explain your topic and dive into deeper research. 

Find Evidence

Find evidence to back up your argument or analysis:

  • Look for viewpoints to explore the pros and cons of an issue and what different people believe about it. Don't limit yourself to only opinions you agree with - look for credible, reasoned opinions on both sides of an issue.

  • New sources can also help you find current events, reporting on new research, and personal interest stories to "hook" your audience. 

  • Look for research by experts that explores the impact of something using methods like surveys, case studies, laboratory studies, or clinical trials.

Current Events

Pro/Con Articles

Scholarly Articles / Research Studies

Books & Articles - Tutorials and Additional Tips

Credible Websites - Google Search Tricks

Domain-Specific Search

When using Google, you can increase your odds of finding credible resources by using a domain-specific search to pull information from specific domains such as .gov, .org, and .edu (but you'll still have to evaluate all information your find!).

  • .govgovernment (Federal and state government agencies use the Web to publish legislation, census information, weather data, tax forms and many other documents)
  • .orgnon-profit organization (Nonprofit organizations use the Web to promote their causes. These pages are good sources to use when comparing different sides of an issue)
  • .edueducational institution (Even though a page comes from an educational institution, it does not mean the institution endorses the views published by students or faculty members)

 

How to Do a Domain-Specific Search

Source Evaluation Wheel

Recommended Websites

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