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How can I decide whether a research topic will be fruitful?

Last Updated: May 15, 2015  |  55 Views

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To find out whether or not you'll be able to find information on your topic, begin your research and see how it goes. If you try searching the SLU Libraries Catalog for books or library databases for articles and don't get any results, these could be possible causes. 

1. You might have misspelled something. Library catalogs and databases aren't very forgiving when it comes to spelling errors.

2. You may have entered too many keywords. Try to enter only keywords that represent the topics you're researching. Don't enter your entire thesis. For example, instead of searching for "playing violent video games makes teenagers violent" search for the following: videogames and violence and teenagers.

3. You may need to broaden your search. For example, instead of doing a search for "videogames and violence and teenagers," you could simply search for "videogames." You'll also want to remove any limits that you've placed on your search (like date, publication type, etc.) You may also need to try to think of your topic more broadly. For example, instead of looking for articles about Lady Gaga, you could look for articles about our country's obsession with celebrity, the cult of celebrity, etc.

4. You may be searching a resource that doesn't include the kind of content you're looking for. Use the SLU Libraries Catalog to find books, ebooks, DVDs, newspapers, magazines, and journals. Use library databases to search for individual articles published in newspapers, magazines, and journals. Use the SLU Libraries Databases by Subject categories to find a database that fits with the subject you're researching and/or the class you're taking. If you still have questions, please Ask a Librarian.

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