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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.
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.
Finding a Topic You're Curious about - Video
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.
Academic Search UltimateAcademic Search Ultimate contains full text for more than 11,000 journals and magazines. This resource covers almost all topics, with strong content in the humanities and sciences. In addition, 60,000 videos are included from the Associated Press. This database is a great place to start most research projects.
Britannica OnlineThis includes Britannica Encyclopaedia online, as well as Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and the Britannica Book of the year. It can also be used to search an Internet directory that includes more than 130,000 links to Web sites selected, rated, and reviewed by Britannica editors. This database contains many images and some other types of multimedia.