Developing your Research Topic
- Start with a topic that interests you.
- Get Background Information
- Note keywords, names, places, organizations
- Develop your research question
- Is your research question too broad or narrow (some prelimary searching/reading will help you determine this)
- Develop a thesis statement
Topic keywords: Literacy, school librarians, school library media center
Your Research Question/Interest might be: Can hiring a certified school librarian help create a culture of literacy in my school?
Thesis Statement: Students in schools with a certified school librarian and a well supported school library have better reading test scores than students in schools without a certified school librarian and school library.
How to Write a Thesis Statement
In your coursework you are expected to use high quality, scholarly sources of information. The following tutorial will help you understand what scholarly sources are.
Tips for Effective Search Strategies
Searching works best when you have a research question in mind. You should be able to identify key concepts related to your research. These concepts form the basis for your search terms.
Know your topic. Exploring general sources (a chapter in your textbook, an encyclopedia article or other background reading) is a good way to start. The better you understand a topic, the easier it is to evaluate sources.
What is your purpose? Since you are developing a professional development program you need to select research that supports your program. You also need to identify materials to be used by classroom teachers, as well as online resources. You must also develop a convincing presentation.
Start early. Until you have done some searching and reading, you might not recognize if your topic is too broad or narrow.
Search terms: Look at the descriptors or subject terms to identify appropriate and alternate search terms. Be aware that different databases may use different search terms. You may need to adjust your search terms as you move from one database to another.
Don't wait until the last minute. Good resources may not be available locally. Allow yourself time for an interlibrary loan.
Select resources appropriate for your topic. Your professor will require that you use only scholarly, peer-reviewed resources.
Search journal: If you are working on a major research project, keep a search journal by recording the databases you used, the search terms you tried, and the success of the search. This can keep you from repeating an unsuccessful search.
Have a Question? Contact a Librarian:
The Reference Desk is staffed until 10PM Sunday-Friday and until 8:00pm on Saturday.
Send your question to the Reference Desk via email - firstname.lastname@example.org Allow 24 hours for a response.
Schedule a Research Appointment
Contact the library for an appointment with a Reference Librarian: Schedule Research Help