To decide on a topic:
Choose a topic that interests YOU.
The best way to get this right is to really use your own imagination to see what you respond to. Your first tries are important. You can narrow them down later.
Here are some ways to narrow your topic:
Theoretical approach: Limit your topic to a particular approach to the issue. For example, if your topic concerns cloning, examine the theories surrounding of the high rate of failures in animal cloning.
Aspect or sub-area: Consider only one piece of the subject. For example, if your topic is human cloning, investigate government regulation of cloning.
Time: Limit the time span you examine. For example, on a topic in genetics, contrast public attitudes in the 1950's versus the 1990's.
Population group: Limit by age, sex, race, occupation, species or ethnic group. For example, on a topic in genetics, examine specific traits as they affect women over 40 years of age.
Geographical location: A geographic analysis can provide a useful means to examine an issue. For example, if your topic concerns cloning, investigate cloning practices in Europe or the Middle East.
Once you identify your general area of interest, Clear, specific and answerable research question(s) are essential to a successful review. For instance ‘Is family therapy an effective treatment for anorexia nervosa?’ will be a more effective question and produce a more focused set of search results than ‘How do I help people with eating disorders?
Though you want a clearly defined topic at the outset, it is a natural that the topic will alter as you learn more about what has been writtlen about it. However it is important that you retain a clear point of view or theory as you work.
Once you start to narrow your topic, finding the right keywords is important. Don't be afraid to let your topic change as you do more research. Note: when the narrator says "one search" what she really means is "Article Quick Search"
If you cannot access the above video, you can watch it here
When searching the library databases, look for thebutton to locate the full-text of an article or request interlibrary loan for items that the Library does not own.
❖ Start by putting your topic into a sentence.
Example: What effect does seeing fights and shootings have on children?
❖ Separate out the terms that can not be removed from your question without destroying the meaning.
Examples: See; fighting/shooting; kids
❖ Think of synonyms.
Examples: See= witness, experience, observe
Children=kids, juveniles, minors
Fighting/shooting= aggression, violence
❖ Type a selection of terms in to the Search box.
Example: Children and violence and (see or experience or witness)
From the results landing page you can add more filters in the left hand column.
When considering a choice of topic for your assignment, you need to read quickly and at times skim content. As you go through material, notice when your interest increases or decreases. This will help you decide which aspect of a broad topic really interests you.
What resources should you be reading quickly and even skimming? Traditionally encyclopedia articles provide this kind of general description of a topic, and they can be very useful. But always notice when the encyclopedia was published. If your topic is about an issue in contemporary life such as education, public health, sociology or medicine, research in these areas moves very quickly. In these cases finding a credible website can offer guidance to more up to date research than the encyclopedia. For a deep dive in to the topic, encyclopedia articles can be invaluable.
|If you're looking for...
|history of photography
|library catalog, eBook Central, Ebsco ebook collection
|popular articles on dating websites
|Academic Search Premier, Academic OneFile, Article Quick Search
|scholarly articles on phobia
|Psycinfo, Annual Reviews, Article Quick Search
|scholarly articles on nanotubes
|Science Direct, Compendex, Scifinder, Article Quick Search
|a breaking national event
|CNN, (media sites on web)
|a local event
|Boston Globe, Lowell Sun
|statistics on unemployment
|US Department of Labor
|an overview of eating disorders
|Sage Knowledge, Credo Reference, CQ Researcher
What are Articles?
Articles are good for...
To learn more about searching for articles, visit the Library’s Guide to Article Quick Search.
What is a Book?
Any long-form written work can be considered a book, but the scope, publishing process, and intended audience (popular or scholarly) can vary greatly. In academic research, these variables mean that books can be more or less useful, depending on your topic.
Books are good for...
You can also visit the Library’s Guide to Searching for Books for strategies on finding useful books in our online catalog.
What is Interlibrary Loan?
How do I use Interlibrary Loan?
Can I get Interlibrary Loan items quickly?
If you have questions about your ILL request or account, please send an email to ILLSOUTH@uml.edu.
The UMass Lowell Writing Center offers help for all stages of your writing, including citations and formatting. They have locations on both sides of the river:
Visit the Writing Center website to book a consultation or tutoring session. You’ll need to log in with your UML credentials before you can schedule an appointment.