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Answered By: Jeneen LaSee-Willemssen
Last Updated: Dec 29, 2015     Views: 599

To develop a research plan...

Pick Your Topic

    • If you have a list of topics from your instructor, choose from that.
    • If you need to pick something on your own:
      • Use a database like Points of View Reference Center to:
        • Identify popular topics (they provide a browsing list of over 200 topics)
        • To find background information (including keywords, broader terms, narrower terms, and related terms).
        • To find a variety of opinions (point/counterpoint and pro/con information) on your topic.


Limit Your Topic

    • The size of the topic you pick should match the length of the paper you are writing.
    • Example topic: Thyroid disorders (book length!)
    • Example limited topics for shorter papers:
      • Whether or not thyroid patients should use generic drugs rather than brand name drugs for treatment.
      • How doctors can better diagnose thyroid disease.
      • An examination of the autoimmune syndromes related to thyroid disease and why they seem to be more prevalent in women.


Identify Keywords and Combinations

    • Identify the words or phrases you should search.
    • Do a little background research to identify keywords (related terms) from the literature (Points of View is great for this).
      • Thyroid disease possibilities:
        • More specific: Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism
        • More general: Hashimoto's, Autoimmune disorders
        • Related: Thyroid and nutrion, thyroid and gender, thyroid and treatment, thyroid and diagnosis, thyroid and drugs
    • Identify Boolean Operators to use to combine your terms

Identify Resources to Search



Develop a Time Frame

    • University of Minnesota Libraries has a great Assignment Calculator ... just remember that their library resources (staff, materials, and database access) are for their students!