LIB 101 Library Research and Beyond: Get Started

Background Research

Don't get lost in your topic!  Always start your research project by doing some background reading.   This will help you to understand the context of your topic so you can research more effectively.  You may also decide that you want to change the focus of your research as you learn more about your topic.  Your background readings will also help you identify keywords you can use in your searching as you continue your research.

Sources for Background Research

Brainstorm Keywords for Searching

As you read about your topic, make a note of search terms that will be useful for finding articles on your topic.  When you are searching Google or other search engines, you can use "natural language" searching - just type in your whole question and you may find exactly what you want.  Database searching and advanced Google searching requires more precise use of search terms. 

Watch the 2 minute video from Portland State University below for some useful tips.  

Newspaper Sources

Turning an Interest into a Research Question

In this video, you’ll learn how to turn something you find interesting into a researchable question for a college research project.