The first step is to get curious as you look around the community and consider health-related topics, issues, or projects. Think locally. In addition to your own observations and experiences, you will also want to research topics.
NewsBank is a database you can use to access local newspapers' current and previous issues. The Fort Worth Star Telegram, for example, is a newspaper that covers the Tarrant county area. In the video below, learn how you can browse local newspapers using the publications search feature.
|Story, Event, Topic, Headline||Who, What, Where, When, Why...How||I'm wondering...|
These are just a few of our databases you can use to get curious about the issues and topics impacting the community.
Once you have a list of topics you are curious about, spend some time immersing in several to build background knowledge and connect ideas. This is the perfect time to share the topics you've collected with peers. Bounce ideas around. Can you find connections?
Mind Maps are a great tool to help create connections. Try creating a mind map together as a group or class to see what you discover.
Add your own observations, experiences, and stories. Return to the News resources in the "Open" phase. Keep adding and see what unfolds!
The UCLA Library video below gives you a quick introduction to how mind maps are a great tool for forming research ideas.
Start dipping in to explore more about a handful of interesting ideas. Take those ideas for a "test drive" to get a better sense for the ideas and perspectives around the topic before you choose one.
Databases are collections of articles from newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals. They also include media such as images, video, statistics, and audio. Databases are your #1 tool as you move forward in your research process. The recommended ebooks for this course are another great place to explore ideas.
The Gale databases have a terrific tool for this: topic finder. Watch the video below for an overview. Then, click on the Gale Health and Wellness database link to get started. Topic finder in the Gale databases can help you very quickly explore a topic to find keywords and related articles.
During the explore phase, make a note of the keywords you discover for the topics that interest you most. Use a research journal to begin to document the perspectives, definitions, related topics, and important ideas for your topics. This will help you in the next step: Identify.
Now that you've opened your mind to ideas, immersed in the connections, and explored the most interesting topics, it's time to identify what your focus will be for the remainder of your inquiry and research.
Forming your research question is a critical step. Your research question will help you to focus your search. Click on the guide From Topic to Research Question from Indiana University Libraries for support.
Discuss your research question with your class instructor or a reference librarian. It may be wise to set up an appointment so you can get extra help.
Gathering your sources and information can be exciting and rewarding while also challenging. TCC Libraries offer several online databases and ebooks that will give you access to a wealth of information.
Your research question will help to guide your gathering of information by allowing you to narrow and focus your search. Knowing how to apply tools within the databases and search techniques can lead to a successful collection of sources:
Below you will find resources to help you:
Don't forget to Cite Your Sources as you go!
Brainstorm keywords that represent the main concept(s) of your topic. Think about what words you would want to see in an article that may indicate it would be useful for your research.
|Topic:||impact of oil drilling on the Texas coast|
|Key concepts:||impact||oil drilling||Texas coast|
|Related keywords:||effect||oil production||offshore|
|consequence||oil mining||away from shore|
Need more help? Try the Keyword Generator from California State University, Fullerton. It walks you through the process of finding keywords relevant to your topic.
For more on this topic, visit the research guide, Starting Your Research.
Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) allow you to tell the search engine how to search for your keywords.
After you have identified the keywords in your research question and related terms or synonyms, think about how you can combine them in a search string with AND, OR, or NOT to narrow and focus your search results.
The video below demonstrates how to apply Boolean operators when searching in a database.
One of the hardest parts of research is communicating the results in a way that is quickly clear to others. This often means finding a way to make your data visually appealing and accessible. Fortunately, there are some resources that can help you.
Statista is a resource that contains information (data) on thousands of topics. If you want to know how many Americans play tennis or the price of lithium per ton, Statista is the place to go! Information in Statista is available graphicly as charts or figures, but you can also download the data in Excel files and create your own customized visualizations.
1. Type a short topic into the Statista search box.
2. Choose the result that best fits what you want.
3. You can choose to use one of Statista's visualizations, or you can download the Excel file and create your own. For example, you may want to just compare Texas to states near it geographically or close to it in population size.
Ask a Librarian! Each TCC Library has professional researchers (librarians) available in-person and online to help students with the research process. They can help you focus your research, sometimes suggest keywords to use for your topic, and guide you to the best resources available. To ask for help online, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Ask a Librarian page.