Skip to Main Content


Finding your topic is research image

Whether you have an assigned topic, and you need to narrow down to a manageable research question, or you are free to choose any topic you want, the first step in narrowing that topic is researching sources for background information.

First, you can search popular sources for topics or background information. Popular sources differ from scholarly sources in that they are written for a non-specialist audience. Popular sources can help you understand some of the important conversations that are happening in the classroom or in educational policy. 

Here are some popular sources:

Science Daily is a website that summarizes the latest research in the sciences and social sciences. Use the Society dropdown menu to search for abstracts of some of the latest research in education. 

You can also browse scholarly journals to understand the scholarly conversations that are happening in the field of Education. Journals focus on all aspects of education, including: Philosophy of education, educating in specific disciplines, learning theories, and special education.

As you browse through these sources, be sure to note:

  • Topics that interest you and/or intersect with what you are learning in class; engaging with a topic is a key to success. 
  • Keywords and subject terms for main concepts; using these terms will help you find information more effectively in the databases or websites
  • Where authors disagree (usually in the introduction) or areas for more research (usually at the end of an article); these are subjects you can explore. 
  • Sources in the text and the reference section that may be useful to you.
  • The names of key researchers so you can find more of their works; key researchers are those names you may observe several times.