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RHW 102 Dr. Alexandra Lossada - First-Year Seminar in Writing

A guide to help with exploring library resources.

Define Your Topic 

When you first begin your research, it is helpful to search for background information surrounding your topic. Doing background research can help you identify keywords that might help you in your search. 

Brainstorm Ideas

  • What do you find interesting? 
  • Must be relevant to assignment.
  • Avoid topics that are too broad or narrow. 

Gather Background Info 

  • What terms do you need to know to better understand the issue? 
  • Who is affected by the issue? 
  • What are the main controversies? 
  • Who are the key figures and organizations? 
  • What significant events/policies have there been? 


Google Web Search

Once you have done some background research on your topic, you can begin to narrow down your search. You might need to conduct several different searches as you work to make sure your topic is not so general that you are overwhelmed with different search avenues, but also not so narrow that you have a difficult time finding articles. 

Take Concepts from the Assignment 

  • immigration 

Take Concepts from Background Information 

  • immigrant rights 

Ask a Research Question 

  • What kind of rights do non-citizens have? 

Gather Your Keywords

  • immigrant
  • immigrant rights
  • voting rights