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SWITCH Libraries' Information Literacy Tutorial: Unit 1
Picking a Topic

This tutorial is for use by the community of library users within the SWITCH Library Consortium.

Consider Your Information Need

Information word cloud image

As you prepare to do research and select a topic, consider WHAT you are trying to find out as well as HOW MUCH information you need.

Think about the scope of your research by reviewing the class assignment or by asking a course instructor what is expected. Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours collecting information only to discover you misunderstood the assignment and have to start over.

Starting a research project will be less challenging if you begin by reading generally about a topic to get an overview and to pinpoint narrower aspects of interest to you.

Selecting Your Topic IS Research

Research Topic

Narrowing Your Topic

Let's try one!

Download this form to brainstorm and refine some search terms.

Narrowing your topic handout

Test Your Knowledge

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Please review the information on this page before attempting the quiz. After completing the quiz, a score will be sent to your email address. Click here to take the Picking a Topic Quiz.

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Questions? Please contact your home library and ask to speak with a librarian.


"Picking Your Topic IS Research!", North Carolina State University Libraries:

"Research Topic", Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, UWM Libraries: