Undergraduate Research

Choosing a Topic

You may have been assigned a broad topic area or your research topic may be all up to you.  How do you get your topic nailed down?

A few tips:

  • Think of topics that interest or impact you. 
  • Search a topic on the general web (in search engines like Google or Yahoo!)
  • Read about topic ideas in resources like Wikipedia or Britannica
  • Search some full-text e-book databases to get some ideas
  • Talk to friends, coworkers, or experts (see next section)
  • Often you will find that once you start research (especially your information seeking portion), your topic may change - this is common!

Finding Experts

  • The OSU Libraries has subject librarians to assist with information needs. 
  • Some research databases allow you to search topics and limit to a specific institution.  So you could limit to researches at Ohio State (don't use OSU - there are several OSUs).  The Web of Knowledge and Scopus are the largest resources for doing this type of search.  Note that authors may have moved to another position since writing the article.  See OSU's Find People to see if they are currently at the university and to get their contact information.
  • Discipline specific databases, such as the Social Science Research Network, are also good sources of experts.
  • Google Scholar is another source for identifying experts.
  • The research databases can also help you find experts outside OSU - you are not limited to using OSU researchers!

Information Sources for Your Research