A good topic is a manageable topic that you can thoughtfully and thoroughly address within the length of your assignment. A manageable topic generally consists of 2 to 3 concepts.
Each database has a unique collection of resources. Try several databases to be sure you are finding all of the available articles on your topic.
Selecting the right keywords, or search terms, is the most difficult aspect of a search. Try to brainstorm a list of any and all search terms you could use for your topic.
See the Keyword Searching guide for help.
You may need to think of ways to look more broadly at your topic. There may not be research on a very specifically focused topic, but there is almost always research that is related to a topic in some way. Take out keywords that focus on the more specific parts of your topic. Try using related search terms or looking at different aspects of your topic.
Add relevant limits to your search. It's often a good idea to include date limits or limit to peer-reviewed articles.
Add a concept or two to your search to create a more specific topic. For example, specify a population, treatment, region, etc.
If your assignment provides a general idea to research, you will need to get more specific.
For example, if your assignment requires you to find an article on a current educational issue, you would want to think about a current educational issue that interests you.
Dissertation research topics need to fill a gap in current research or practice. Your research question should not already have an answer in the research literature. You will find resources that address different portions of your topic.
Place the concepts from your question within the context of the existing literature. Search for portions of your topic, but not all aspects at one time.
There may be research that looks at a slightly different population, or that addresses a related intervention.
Your required readings should give you a broad background in what is going on in your field. Look for interesting topics you can expand for your own research.
If you have experience in your field you may be able to translate it into a research topic. Explore the literature of a topic that interests you and you may find ideas for your topic. Click the "Explore the Literature" tab above to learn more.
While an item in the news may be too recent to use as a topic, you may be able to relate it to an existing area of research. Recent issues of scholarly journals cover topics of current interest to researchers.