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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

How to Choose a Topic: Focusing a broad topic

A guide on choosing a topic from the Undergraduate Library

Secondary Sources

Once you have focused your topic and gathered some background information, you are ready to gather secondary information.

If you're looking for articles, newspaper articles, or subject databases, try our Find Articles page!

If you need help identifying other sources, Ask a Librarian.

Focusing Your Topic

Are you overwhelmed with how much information you are finding?  Try the suggestions below:

  • Develop a tentative focus  
    List what you already know and questions you have about the topic and focus on those you find most interesting.
  • Find background information on your topic   
    Check our Online Reference Collection for an article in an online encyclopedia you can trust.  
  • Search CQ Researcher 
    This is a great source for finding background information and overviews of a wide array of topics.
  • Limit your search to a specific time period  
    • Look for date limit options when searching a database.

Subject Guide

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Undergraduate Library
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