• Research Help: 2. Topics

    Use this guide to help you learn about research and perform research yourself for both academic and leisurely activities.

    What do you want to know?

    This is a preview to some of the questions your Lindsey librarian will ask you whenever you need help starting a research project.

    1. Think about the main topic/question for your assignment or project. What do you want to potentially answer?
    2. Write down some questions about the main topic/question. What are some specific things you want to know about your topic?
    3. From those questions, write down 10-20 keywords or phrases. This will help us search our databases and the internet.


    1. What is something you want to learn about?
      I want to learn about the history of baseball equipment.
    2. What are some specific things you want to know about your topic?
      I want to know what they first use when the game was invented and how it changed over time.
    3. Can you write down some keywords or synonyms about that subtopic?
      baseball bats, baseballs, Louisville, wood, cleats, bases, baseball diamond, helmets, baseball hats, gloves, Wilson, history, leather, slugger, mitt

    How to Select or Find Topics


    Use the resources below in the beginning stages of the research process. Each link provides steps and processes for research, as well as topic ideas.

    TIP: The librarians love CREDO Reference as our electronic encyclopedia.


    Whether you are given a list of topics to choose from or selecting a topic of choice, your selection is incredibly important.  For instance, if you select a topic that does not interest you or that is too broad or narrow, it will impact the finished product of your work.  Below are some strategies to utilize when deciding on a topic.

    • Brainstorm
    • Select a topic that will have enough supporting information
    • Select a topic that will be manageable (i.e. not too broad or narrow)
    • Use keywords and synonyms effectively
    • Remember that topics with research must be malleable (subject to change throughout the research process)
    • Define your topic
    • State the context of your topic (Remember that the same topic when applied to different subject areas have different meanings)
    • Understand your topic (Do reference research to ensure you know a little about what you are writing about before beginning the research process)
    • Use your topic to generate a thesis statement



    The Evolving Topic

    It is OK to have a broad and general topic when you first start out. This allows you to be flexible and curious.

    Don't get discouraged easily!  When you first start browsing, you may find too much or too little information about your topic.  That is OK!  You don't have to switch completely to a new topic.  Work with what you find, not against it.

    When in doubt, ask your professor for help! They know exactly what they want for your assignment.