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This page will provide help with conducting college level research through the UW-Madison Libraries website.

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Choose a Search Type

Choose or Narrow Your Topic

  • Whenever given a choice, pick a topic that sparks your interest.
  • Search for background information before you commit to a topic. Browsing websites or books can help you learn more about potential topics, like what words to use in future searches.
  • Some topics are too broad for a particular research assignment. As you explore, look for specific subtopics that are interesting to you. For instance, the topic of climate change is too broad, but you can focus on a specific part such as the effect of climate change on hurricane severity or polar bear populations.
  • Remember to adjust or refocus your topic as you research.

Choose the Right Sources

  • Find out how many and what type of sources you need by looking at your assignment, syllabus, or by asking your professor.
  • Determine the types of information you need to support your assignment: Research is found in scholarly articles, books provide topic overviews, and newspapers provide journalists reports on current events and research.