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Quick Start to Research

Guiding you through the research process.

Topic Selection

Tips for Topic Selection: When selecting your topic, pick something you are interested in! It is easier to do research on something that appeals to you. If you have been assigned a topic, select an element of the topic that is most interesting to you to research.

Topic Development

Developing your topic: 

Brainstorm. What do you already know about the subject? 

Ask questions: the 5ws—Who? What? When? Where? Why? (And How?)

Think of keywords that you can use for searching.

Try searching in a reference database for basic information on your topic. The ICC Librarians suggest Credo Reference or Encyclopedia Britannica Online (linked below). Browse the results, look for key ideas, places, peoples, and years. Develop new keywords and refine your search. 

Focus on a specific part your topic. Make your topic as precise as you can, this will depend upon the length of the assignment.

Consider your time constraints. Are your materials in the library or online? Will it take time to get books or articles through inter-library loan? Plan to take time to read the information, write your paper/complete your assignment, proof-read/edit and visit the Studio for making improvements.

Create a thesis statement or define your topic as a question.

Always consider discussing your topic with your professor or a librarian.

Video on Starting Your Research on Topic

The Studio

For help with all stages of the writing process, visit The Academic Support Center.


East Peoria Campus, Library Balcony, L442
(309) 694-5292

Peoria Campus, Student Center 
(309) 690-6809

For assistance please make an appointment. Walk-ins are also welcome.