Tips on Researching and Writing a Paper
Choose a topic
Ask yourself these questions:
Am I interested in the topic?
Will I enjoy researching this topic?
Will I enjoy talking about this
Will my audience be interested in
Can I use the research in
Check out these resources for topic ideas:
Researcher. Library has print issues from 1991+
Reference H 35 E352
Each issue of the CQ Researcher covers a different topic. This
is a good source for gaining background information on a topic as
well as gathering different points of view. Each issue
presents questions about the topic, gives background material and
opposing viewpoints, reprints some articles on the topic, and
provides a bibliography for further reading.
Topic Selection Helper
Limit your topic
Look for your topic in the
Choose LC Subject search. Look at the headings and
subheadings that are listed--this may give you an idea of an aspect
of a topic that interests you. For example, see the subject
Find an overview of your topic in an encyclopedia (general or
subject). As you read the article you may have some new ideas
for an aspect of the topic you might consider.
Here are some more ideas to consider:
Limit your topic to a specific person.
Limit your topic to a specific
Limit to a particular geographical
area or ethnic group. chocolate
factories in the United States
Limit to a particular time period.
chocolate industry in the 20th
Limit to a particular aspect of the topic.
chocolate and health
Combine any of the above.
Contrast the treatment of a topic in various
newspapers, magazines, or other media.
Look at the way the topic is viewed in movies.
Reference to find background information on your
Find books on your topic using the
Library Catalog. However, if there are many books on
your topic, you have chosen one that is too broad.
If Pickler Memorial Library doesn't have what you want, try your
search in MOBIUS
to find books in other libraries in Missouri. You can
order books online and they will be delivered usually within 3-4
Look for periodical articles using a general database like
Academic Search Complete or
Consider the discipline that you are working with (philosophy,
psychology, medicine, etc.) and look at the
These will list reference books, databases, Web sites, etc.
Points of View. A Pickler Library Research Guide that helps you find sources that give
Search the Web
--but be careful and evaluate your sources!
Reference Librarian at 785-4051. He or she can help you decide which
databases would be best, how to structure a good search, etc.
Spice up your speeches with....
Statistical Abstract of the United States. Reference HA 202
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Reference PN 6081 B27 1992
Also available online.
Cassell's Humorous Quotations. Reference PN 6084 H8 C37 2001
Best Book of Puns. PN 6231 P8 M58 1988
Encyclopedia of 20th Century American Humor. Reference PS 438
Make your bibliography
---Selected guides to help you cite sources correctly in APA,
Chicago/Turabian, and MLA styles.