A research topic is a general term for the subject you are interested in learning about. Examples: Sustainable fishing; Pet Overpopulation.
Once you know your topic, you will need to come up with a more specialized research question that will be the focus of the paper. This will guide your search and help you narrow down your resources to the ones you need to answer this question in your paper. This might involve more specific geographic regions, sub-topics, or problems related to the topic. For example: What regulations have been effective in promoting and enforcing sustainable fishing practices in Alaska?
If you need help coming up with a research topic or research question, try looking at your course readings and the reference books linked below for ideas. You can also try searching a database for a general topic, and look for patterns or trends of related articles to use as the focus of your research question.
Consider your research topic and research question, and list as many words or phrases related to that topic as you can. Include synonyms, and look at the reference books linked above or your course readings and textbooks for help finding more words and phrases.
Group related words and phrases you listed in Activity 1 into separate "clouds" or "clusters." For example, each of these groups would be in its own "cloud":
fish, salmon, and haddock
fish farming, fisheries, aquaculture
Alaska, Arctic, Kodiak, Aleutian
regulations, enforcement, rules, policies
Based on your clusters of search terms, devise your search strategy:
fish or salmon
fish and sustainable
More search tips:
A literature review is a survey of current (you determine time frame) literature relating to a particular issue, problem, theory, etc. The review involves a comprehensive search of all of the known/findable scholarly literature related to the issue or topic. The written review provides a summary of this literature and can be a publication in its own right, or may be part of a larger academic research publication.
Formulate the research question
Conduct preliminary search(es) of the literature as appropriate in order to:
Refine the topic
Conduct a second review of the literature using multiple databases and other appropriate resrouces