Too much information? Less, but more relevant, information is key. Consider:
Not enough information? Think of related ideas, or read some background information first. Consider:
Remember, you will have to read extensively on an issue before you can define a feasible research topic. You may - and likely will - modify your topic many times as you discover new information.
(Adapted under a Creative Commons License from MIT Libraries)
Concept Mapping: a useful tool for drawing out topic ideas
Many databases and search engines allow you to use "Boolean logic" to refine your search by connecting words and phrases together to narrow or broaden your results.
Use AND between words or phrases to narrow your results and tell the database that all search terms must be present in the resulting records.
Use OR between words or phrases to broaden your results and tell the database that either search term must be present in the resulting records.
Use NOT between words or phrases to indicate that the first word or phrase must be present in the resulting records, but the second word or phrase should not be present.
Truncation (or the asterisk * ) can be used to get all results that contain a term beginning with a common set of letters.
Use "quotation marks" around two or more words that have a specific meaning as a phrase.
Information can be gathered from a variety of formats:
No matter the format, you must evaluate the information to determine if it is appropriate for your research need. Consider:
Want to learn more? Check out these video tutorials:
How do I evaluate sources? Learn about:
What counts as evidence? Learn about:
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Waldo Library, Education Library, Music and Dance Library reference collections BF76.7.P83 2010