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The following tools can be helpful as you brainstorm ideas:
Define Your Topic or Problem
- Clarify your information needs
- What is your assignment?
- What are you really being asked to do?
- State your proposed topic or problem in a sentence or two.
- Ask yourself the who, what, where, when and why questions.
- Organize your thoughts
- Break the topic into subtopics or key concepts
- Jot down synonyms or other words to convey each concept.
- Think of broader or narrower terms that might also be appropriate.
- Develop an overview of the topic(s).
- Browse encyclopedias, handbooks, almanacs, or journal contents to gather some background information.
- Become familiar with the terminology, including synonyms.
- Browse dictionaries and encyclopedias, thesauri.
- Precision searching is important when using electronic databases, so spend some time identifying appropriate terms.
Eva B. Dykes Library Libguides by Oakwood University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.