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PEP - Pre-Enrolment English Program: Research Topic Search

LibGuide for Pre-Enrolment English Program (PEP) students

Research Topic Search

Choosing an interesting research topic is your first challenge. A topic that is too broad can overwhelm you with irrelevant resources but if your topic is too narrow, you might not have enough material for your paper.

Here are some tips:

  • Choose a topic that you are interested in!
  • Narrow your topic to something manageable.
    • If your topic is too broad, you will find too much information and not be able to focus.
    • Background reading can help you choose and limit the scope of your topic.
  • Review the guidelines on topic selection outlined in your assignment.
  • Ask your lecturers for suggestions

Building a search for an research topic

1. Look for the key concepts in the topic

Analyze your question to determine the important aspects or main ideas in the topic. Concepts describe the main ideas, and may be expressed by a single word or a phrase.

2. Identify keywords for these concepts

Once you have worked out your concepts, your next step is to think of some keywords and alternative terms for each concept.

3. Link your search words with AND or OR

Once you have worked out your concepts, your next step is to think of some keywords and alternative terms for each concept.

4. Use search tips like phrase, truncation and wildcard symbols to improve the search

Once you have worked out your concepts, your next step is to think of some keywords and alternative terms for each concept.

Here is an example topic:

 

 

 

Types of databases: multidisciplinary databases ; subject-specific databases

  • Multidisciplinary databases: contain articles from many different subject areas. For example, Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, Scopus.
  • Subject-specific databases: have articles in a particular subject area. For example, there are nursing databases, education databases, and business databases.

 

Pick a database that matches the subject matter of your chosen topic. To help you select the most appropriate database for your search, click "Databases by Subject" on the Library Homepage under the Quicklinks.

Why do I need to know about keywords?

  • Keywords give you the best chance of finding relevant information by clarifying what it is you are searching for
  • Identifying keywords from concepts is a key part of understanding your topic
  • Keywords allow you to capture results you might otherwise miss
  • Keywords can help to broaden or narrow your search

Search Techniques

               

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Australian Databases

Academic writing help

Referencing guide

The Library Referencing Style Guide will assist you to correctly attribute information gathered for your assignments.

Please check with your lecturers as to which style is acceptable for your assignments.