When you are writing an honors-level research paper, you need to be very specific about the subject that you are researching. Watch the above video and draw a topic triangle to help narrow your research question into a focused statement. For example, if you are researching college students, consider a few particular aspects of college student life such as:
Great! Now let's take one of these, such as college students and academic performance, and look at potential influencers upon academic performance:
Any of these three topics could create a research question that you could turn into a research paper topic.
Once you have made a decision, you should generate keywords. Keywords are search terms that you use when searching for information about your topic. The above video explains how you can write keywords. Watch it, then continue reading this section.
Let's pose an example: you're writing about the impact of romantic breakups on the academic performance of college students. Your keywords could include:
When writing keywords or even starting social sciences research, it can be very helpful to get some background information first. A database like CREDO Reference is useful for this task. Read an article or two about your topic so that you become more familiar with it. This will make it easier to select keywords and to know if information sources that you find are actually relevant. For example, reading an article like this one about romantic breakups could suggest to you keywords that include:
Now that you have keywords, it's time to search the databases. Have you used the databases before? If you don't have recent experience with our library's databases, then I suggest watching this introductory video.
The video embedded above shows you how to search Academic Search Complete, which is one of the four databases ideal for social sciences research. All four of these databases are structured the same way, so the tutorial video applies to all of them.
We have two excellent ebook databases. These let you read full-text books online. The interfaces can be confusing, so I have included a tutorial video for each one.
The video above shows you how to search the ebook database titled EBSCO eBook Collection.
The video above shows you how to search the database ProQuest EBook Central.
This is our video that introduces APA documentation. I urge you to watch the entire video carefully before starting to write your paper or annotated bibliography. It is much easier to cite correctly as you go along, rather than try to fix your documentation after you have written your paper. This is our complete APA guide, which goes into more detail about citing sources and formatting correctly.
It includes our sample paper. When you're writing a paper, you can model the formatting of your paper after this one. If you are unsure how to set up the formatting in Microsoft Word so that it fits the requirements for APA formatting, you could instead download this blank Word document that has the formatting already set up for you.