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Research Guides

Getting Started on Research in the UI Library : Research Strategy

A general introduction to using the library's resources.

Refining Your Topic

Once you have a topic idea, you will want to begin to refine it into a question that can be successfully researched.  You may need to do some reading or searching to gain enough basic knowledge about your topic to begin to refine it.  Here are links to some other tips for improving your topic.


When searching for information it is best to use 2-3 concept keywords instead of your entire topic question or a sentence.

For example, your research question is "Does fracking cause water pollution?"  First, underline the keywords a shown. 

Then begin generating synonyms and related words to help you develop a search strategy. 

fracking water pollution
hydraulic fracturing underground water contamination
drilling for natural gas aquifers toxins
natural gas wells wells carcinogens
directional drilling domestic water supply flammable water

Research Strategy

Do you need to write a research paper? Not sure how to get started? 

1. Determine Topic

2. Identify Keywords

3. Search for Information 

The types of resources that you will need to find will be determined by your specific assignment and topic. See Information Formats for more information. 


Reference Books  

Provides a general overview of topics


 Scholarly Journals

Contain articles written by experts in a

field and are often peer-reviewed

  Newspapers and News Media

Provides the fastest coverage of

information on current topics


Provides in-depth information on a topic

Trade Journals

Written for people workingin a

particular profession

Government Documents

Any document created by a government agency  

Primary Sources

First hand accounts created during an event, 

such as diaries, photographs, and interviews


Written for the general public by

jjournalists or professional writers



Any sort of online information or

search engine that can be created by anyone


4. Evaluate Sources

Is this resource a good source of information? Use the CRAAP Test to find out!

5. Cite Sources

It is always important to correctly cite and document your sources in order to avoid plagiarism.