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Alert: High Density Library Closure | November 24 - 26

High School Classes

This guide is created for classes who are attending library instruction sessions at the University of Calgary

What is my topic?

Before you start looking for articles or books, take time to define or analyze your topic.

Think about your topic critically and define the goals and objectives of your research. The obvious reason is that it's a required part of your course, but put that aside for a minute. Ask yourself: 

  1. What has been done in the topic area?
  2. Where is the research headed next?
  3. What do I hope to achieve?
  4. Audience, objective – why are you writing this paper?

A research project is not about regurgitating other people's ideas -- it's about creating your own ideas based on what you've read from a variety of sources.

Its about evaluating what you have found in your research and thinking critically about your topic!

How to search

Find the keywords.

Finding synonyms for your key concepts will ensure that you find all the relevant materials on your topic. Key concepts + their synonyms = keywords. Some places to look for keywords:

  • Wikipedia
  • Google
  • Your textbook or course readings
  • Dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopaedia