Skip to Main Content

Research Process: Explore

Off-Campus Access

When accessing databases off-campus, you will be prompted for login information.  You will log in with your Blackboard information.

If you have any problems logging in, please contact Stan Price during normal business hours.

Exploring Your Topic

The hardest thing about doing research is knowing how to find the information you're looking for.  If you've chosen a topic you know little or nothing about, it's difficult to know what words to type into the search boxes to retrieve the information you need.

Once you've chosen a topic, you need to begin reading general information about that topic, such as:

  • background
  • major concepts, issues, and controversies
  • key people and events

By doing this, you can begin thinking about how to narrow your topic to something researchable.  You will also begin to collect specific keywords or concepts you can use as search terms to find more specific information.

To find general information on your topic, try exploring the topics lists in these databases:

For the purpose of finding general information on a topic, Internet sources are perfectly fine to use as a launch point for your research. Even if you would not use them as sources for your assignment, they can be useful in helping you get started.


Sometimes your research will involve a topic you're already somewhat familiar with or about which you already have an opinion. In these situations, it's helpful to figure out what you already know about your topic. Here are some exercises you can use to that end:

Ask a Librarian

Ask a Librarian


Related Guides