WR 121: LeFave: Step One: Get ready

Library activity worksheet

The Library Activity worksheet linked below can be completed by following the steps on the tabs above. Once completed, submit it to your instructor.


Policy & research institutes

Policy and research institutes conduct and publish credible research, often including polls, and advocacy on social, political, cultural or economic issues. While most policy and research institutes are non-profit organizations, some have a political or ideological slant.

Step 1: Get ready!

First, get to know your topic.

Read about the "topic finder" on the right and watch the video below on "Turning your interest into a research question" (also below) to learn why getting to know your topic is a great way to start your research.

In order to explore what others have written and understand about your topic, start by searching a broad concept related to your topic.

For example, if you're writing about the experience of returning home from a military tour of duty, search "military life" or "military reintegration." If you're writing about juggling college, work and home-life, search on the phrase "time management" if that resonates with your interests. The trick is to search on concepts or ideas that describe the life experience you're writing about.

Background sources like encyclopedias, news articles, and summary reports are good for finding out who is talking about your topic (psychologists? educators?) and an overview of what they think is important.

1. Search Encyclopedias for Background Research, the "Topic Search" in Academic Onefile or look for a report in CQ Researcher to find at least one article that you are interested in reading.

2. As you read the article or report, look for new terms that describe your topic and make note of them as potential search terms.

Get to know your topic - search below!

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.

Topic Search - Academic OneFile

Look for the option to use a "Topic Finder" on the right-hand side of a results list in Academic OneFile. It's a great option for visually browsing aspects of an issue and viewing articles that address sub-topics.

Topic finder example wheel


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Sara Robertson
Rock Creek Library
Building 9, 2nd floor