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Try These Databases First!
Academic Search Complete
Full text scholarly journal, trade publication, magazine and newspaper articles, books, book reviews, reports, and Associated Press video content, covering all subject areas.
Contemporary Women's Issues
Full text content from mainstream periodicals, gray literature such as newsletters, NGO reports, the alternative press, and ephemeral literature, with a focus on critical issues and events that influence women's lives in more than 190 countries, from the 1960s-present.
Full text of scholarly and popular articles and gray literature titles focusing on the evolution of gender roles in society. Covers topics related to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender studies; family studies; gender studies, and women's studies, from 1970-present.
Full text archive of over 2,600 scholarly journals and 5,000 open source books covering all subject areas. Embargo for current journal issues of 2-5 years. NOTE: The library's holdings do not include primary source collections or fee-based books.
Developing a Research Question
1. Select a topic that genuinely interests you. Look at course readings, class notes, Google, Wikipedia, CQ Researcher or Credo Reference for initial ideas.
2. Consider the scope of your topic. If it is too narrow, you might have trouble finding enough information. If it is too broad, you might be overwhelmed with information.
- Think about your assignment prompt while determining the scope of your topic. It is important to consider the size of the assignment and the length of time you have to complete it when thinking about scope.
3. Turn your focused topic into a research question. Know that your research question may change depending on what sorts of resources you find. While you should have a topic or question in mind, allow the sources you find, along with your interests, to help shape and refine your topic further.
Questions to guide the development of your research question:
- Is it focused enough to be covered in my paper or project?
- Is there enough literature available on this topic?
- What is the question that my research is answering?
- Am I genuinely interested in this topic?
- Is my topic going to be new and interesting to my audience?
Brainstorming keywords for your topic will help you refine your topic, find the most information about your topic and save you time by helping you search databases in a more efficient and systematic way.
Why? Different authors will refer to the same concept in different ways. Having a comprehensive list of keywords to search will help you find more information about your topic!
1. Pick out the main ideas in your research question. For example, the main ideas in this research question are in bold: “Are women fit to serve in the military on the same terms as men?"
2. Take each of your main ideas and brainstorm as many synonyms, related words, acronyms, initialisms, and spelling variants as you can. For example, for military:
- armed forces
- air force
3. Do this for each of your main ideas. Searching all the variants you can come up with will give you a broader selection of relevant information. It might help to make a chart to keep track of which combinations you have searched for.
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