1. Understand the Context
After you form a group, your team is required to present a research topic decided on your own. Here are some examples of topics:
Brainstorming of topic keywords is a good start. An overview or summary of the topic tells you what is known, what are the important issues, and gives you ideas of which area to explore. For example, you may want to know how the black holes were formed. You then have to have some knowledge about what black holes are. Besides Wikipedia, you can find these background information in various encyclopedias and dictionaries:
Other Internet Resource
2. Test the Scope
To check if the scope of your topic is suitable for your assignment and your academic level, see what kinds of books and articles from magazines and newspapers you can find in databases. If you find too much information, too little information, or scattered information without focus, refine your topic.
Identify Main Concepts and Keywords
Before testing the scope, you need to "translate" your research question to concepts and keywords to help the databases understand what you are looking for.
|Your topic:||"How does a transformer work?"|
|The main concepts are:||Direct Current and Alternate Current, energy conversion, magnetization, voltage|
|Consider the terms that people may use to describe the concepts:||DC & AC, magnetization, Eddy Current, induced e.m.f.|
Databases to Test the Topic
A keyword search at the Library Catalog may look like: "transformer"
Similar use of keywords are also effective in many other databases.
3. Refine the Topic (may not be applicable to your assignment this time)
Refine your topic by choosing a focus or point of view. Often, you start with a general topic and need to narrow it down. Occasionally you may need to broaden your topic.
How to Narrow down a Topic
How to Broaden a Topic