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Ancient Civilizations

How to Start Your Research Assignment

Define Your Assignment

What do you have to do to successfully complete this assignment? How long will each step take you?

Make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish. Set a schedule to finish each task. Put the schedule into your calendar.

Define Your Topic

Is your topic the right size? Most students choose a topic that is too large. Doing some presearch on your topic can help you get the big picture and understand what narrower topics are available.

Reference resources help you get started on a new topic, answer quick questions, and/or point you to further resources. Examples of reference resources include:
Almanacs - Atlases - Dictionaries - Encyclopedias - Handbooks - Indexes - Thesauri

Wikipedia is a crowd-sourced encyclopedia. Credo Reference is a collection of all of the above.

Focus Your Research

What questions will you need to answer to write about your topic? What information will you need to find to support your argument?

Make a list to help guide your research.

Develop a Keyword List

It's true - keywords are the key to success when it comes to research. Generating a list of keywords before you start searching - and adding to the list as you go - will make you an efficient, effective searcher. If you can't find what you're looking for, you might need to use different keywords.

  1. Write down your topic.
  2. Identify which of the words you've written can be used as keywords. Hint: pick only ones with meaning directly connected to your topic; e.g., are safe-injection sites good for Vancouver
  3. Brainstorm synonyms, broader/narrower and related words:
    • safe-injection sites = Insite, needle exchanges
    • Vancouver = Lower Mainland, Canada, BC, British Columbia, Fraser Health

Identify Resources

What kind of resources are you able to use for this assignment?  Where can you find these kinds of resources?

Credo Reference search box