Skip to Main Content


I don't know what to research!

You are not alone - choosing a research topic is often the hardest part of doing research.

As you brainstorm, ask yourself these questions: 

  • What have you found interesting about class discussions?
  • Is there anything in class (a discussion, reading) that is of interest?
  • Is there anything in class (a discussion, reading) that you are curious about?

Also consider the type of information you are looking for.  Different sources provide different types of information.

A Primary Source is original research, the first place a researcher publishes his or her findings. Examples: journal articles, conference presentations, technical reports, and laboratory or field data.

  • Contains a detailed description of the research methodology and results. 
  • List of references to articles that the research is based on or attempting to refute. 

A Secondary Source discusses, explains, describes, analyzes, or summarizes primary sources. Examples: books and review articles. 

  • Provides the citations (references) that will point to primary literature.

A Tertiary Source explains, describes or analyzes a group of secondary sources. Examples: annotated bibliographies, entries in encyclopedias or dictionaries.

  • Great place to find background information on a topic.