Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Research can be seen as a series of linked activities moving from a beginning to an end. It usually begins with the identification of a problem followed by formulation of research questions or objectives. The researcher determines what information to collect and how it will be analyzed in order to answer the research question.
Described in this way the research process seems linear, yet research is often an iterative (repeating) process. Decisions made early in the research process are often revisited in the light of new insights or practical problems encountered along the way.
The following resources are useful to identify topics, overviews, background information, concepts, theories, ideas, and key references:
Access World News
Covers newspapers and news wires across the world.
Focuses on topics considered newsworthy or issues of broad interest to the general public.
Covers newspapers; magazines; trade journals; newsletters; and television and radio transcripts focusing on business.
Includes topical overviews; essays; book chapters; primary documents; specialized encyclopedia articles; and other sources.
A large collection of authoritative encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks in a broad range of fields including multidisciplinary areas such as anthropology, environment, health, and psychology.
Access one of many subject encyclopedias available through Rutgers University Libraries.
Information Literacy Librarian
Is this a topic I have always wanted to know more about?
Does this topic meet the requirements of my project?
- Select a topic you find interesting. If you find a topic compelling, the research and writing process will be more satisfying for you, and your passion (or lack thereof) will be evident in your paper.
- If you pick a problem that is too general, you won't be able to adequately cover it in a few pages. If you select a problem that is too narrow, you may have trouble finding helpful sources.
Background Information Serves Many Purposes:
- If you are unfamiliar with the topic, it provides a good overview of the subject matter.
- It helps you to identify important facts related to your topic such as terminology, dates, events, history, and relevant names or organizations.
- It can help you refine your topic.
- Background research might lead you to bibliographies that you can use to find additional sources of information.
Acquire Basic Knowledge and Consider:
What terms do you need to know to better understand this issue?
Who is affected by issue?
What are the main controversies associated with the issue?
Who are the key figures and organizations surrounding this issue?
What significant events have occurred related to this issue?