Summary

This module discussed the importance of defining your information need and selecting a manageable topic.
  • Following the steps of a good research plan will make your research more efficient. Make lists, take notes, and ask questions.
  • Choose a topic that is interesting to you and your audience; avoid the obvious topics.
  • Consider formulating your topic in the form of a question.
  • Explore your topic initially, being flexible about your topic decision. You must be able to find an adequate number of sources, but too much information is not manageable. Broaden or narrow your topic as appropriate, using the 5W’s of journalism—who, what, when, where, and why.
  • Think about the keywords and concepts you will use to search for your topic.

Once you select a topic, decide which types of sources will provide the information you need. You will most likely use more than one type of source. While books and journal articles are the most commonly used sources, many other types exist that may be useful in your research.

Keep in mind that different sources have different citation elements. You can use these citation elements to determine what type of source it is and ultimately where you will need to search to locate it.


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