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Start by phrasing your subject or general topic in the form of a question.
Then ask yourself further questions about your topic:
What do you know about it? What don't you know?
What aspects or viewpoints of your topic interest you? Examples include social, legal, medical, ethical, biological, psychological, economic, political, and philosophical. A viewpoint allows you to focus on a single aspect.
What population do you want to cover? Examples include gender, age, occupation, ethnicity, nationality, educational attainment, species, etc.
How does your topic fit into a larger system or structure?
Next, look for resources which provide background information. Some selected general and specialized subject sources can help narrow the topic.
Remember, there are two layers of research:
1) a broad search to discover resources and to read some background information
2) specific searches for information once you've focused your topic.
Comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary resource containing a large number of peer-reviewed journals.
This is good place to start for most topics, including all sciences, religion, law, history, psychology, political science, criminal justice, literature, current events, sociology and communications.
Abstracts and full-text for most journal articles; Varies by title many from 1980s-present
Provides the ability to perform a broad search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.