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The Research Process: A Guide for OCC Students: 1a. Select a Topic

This guide will walk you through the research process for a standard research paper.

The Research Assignment - Define the Task

Before selecting a topic or starting your research, make sure you understand your assignment. Consider:

  • Have you been assigned a topic or can you pick your own?
  • How many pages/words do you need to write? How long is your presentation?
  • Do you need to include specific types of sources (e.g. scholarly journal, book, etc.)?
  • When is the assignment due? How much time do you have to research?
  • Is currency of information important?

When in doubt, consult with your instructor.

Great Databases to Start Your Research

You can get ideas about your topic by running test searches in the library databases. This can also tell you how much information might be available on a topic.

Topic Ideas

 Can’t think of a topic to research?


Choose a topic that interests you
and will hold your attention. If you do, the research will be more enjoyable!

Picking your Topic is Research

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