Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library Research Overview: Getting Started

This libguide is one-stop shopping for all your basic library how-tos.

Understanding Your Assignment

What should I look for in my assignment?

  • Keywords or verbs. Words like summarize, compare, analyze, or argue direct you to think about your topic in a certain way.
  • Technical details which indicate format rules or guidelines like font, length, spacing, and citation style.
  • Project logistics will tell you about the final product, whether it is supposed to be a speech, written paper, or other presentation.
  • Number and type of sources such as peer-reviewed, scholarly, primary or secondary.
  • Due dates for drafts and final paper/presentation. Plan ahead for time in the library and writing center.


Choosing Your Topic

light bulb

Where do I find topic ideas?

  • Discuss your topic ideas with your class instructor or a reference librarian. It may be wise to set up an appointment so you can get extra help. 
  • Here you will find a list of topic ideas from another community college library.
  • Explore current topics using one of the resources listed below. 

Video Tip

Understanding the Assignment (2:59 min)
Courtesy Clifton L. Fowler Library, CCU

Video Tip

In this video, you will learn how to develop a good research topic. (4:33 min)
Courtesy Kansas State University Library