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Begin by Identifying a Preliminary Topic
If you haven't picked a topic yet, scroll down to the next box--Suggestions for Finding a Topic.
State your topic idea as a question. For example, if you are interested in finding out about use of alcoholic beverages by college students, you might pose the question, "What effect does use of alcoholic beverages have on the health of college students?"
Identify the main concepts or keywords in your question. In this case they are alcoholic beverages, health, and college students.
Discuss your topic ideas with your class instructor.
Browse likely topics using Credo General Reference, SAGE Reference Online 2011 Encyclopedia Collection, or Points of View Reference Center
Test Your Topic
If you are finding too much information and too many sources, narrow your topic by using the and operator: stress and health and college students, for example.
Finding too little information may indicate that you need to broaden your topic. For example, look for information on students, rather than college students. Link synonymous search terms with or: stress or anxiety or mental health. Use truncation (i.e., stress*) with search terms to broaden the search and increases the number of items you find.