Before you start researching a topic, you must determine the extent of information needed and the scope that you will cover.
Ask yourself the 5 W’s & H: who, what, when, where, why, and how:
A "mind map" or "concept map" can be a useful tool for brainstorming your topic. It's a way to visually present a topic that shows how concepts are related, how they build upon one another, and how they might be combined. A concept map can also help you identify keywords to use when searching for information.
The library's Credo Reference database includes a free "mind map" tool to help you generate ideas, and it's interactive to also help you find information related to your topic.
(Click here to view a tutorial.)
If you don't know much about your topic, try looking in encyclopedias and books to get a better general understanding. This will also help you discover keywords that you can use when searching. Credo Reference is an excellent database to use to find encyclopedia articles and definitions.
After brainstorming, draft an outline of your paper to guide your research. The outline serves as a general guide to help keep content organized. It should include: