How long is your paper? How many sources do you need? What kind?
The Thinking Tool provides a template for focusing a research assignment through the brainstorming of ideas, keywords, and other terminology related to a topic. The objective is to generate searchable keywords that may be used to gather resources.
What is your assignment?
What do you want to write about?
This doesn't have to be your final choice of topic. It's a place to start.
Build a Concept Cloud
Enter things related to your main idea. Anything and everything! (Use Wikipedia for help)
Your Main Idea
Synonyms & Related Concepts
List words similar to those in your main idea. Think of words that experts tend to use or about topics related in any way to your idea.
List the people who are involved. Think about the kinds of people or larger groups/organizations.
List words or phrases descriptive of places significant to your topic.
List words or phrases for dates, times, or periods related to your topic.
What comes to mind?
List words or phrases that don't easily fit the categories above
Narrow Your Search Terms
Choose 2 to 4 keywords from the Concept Cloud in Step 3 to start the search process.