Selecting a Topic
Selecting an appropriate topic requires thought and preliminary research for available resources. You need to identify a general area of interest that provides enough available information to allow you to explore your topic and meet the requirements of the assignment.
Before choosing your topic, review the requirements of the assignment:
Identify Appropriate Sources
Once you have selected your topic you need to write down key words and names for your topic and its different aspects. Use both broad and specific terms. Consult a thesaurus, the Library of Congress Subject Headings (ask at the Reference Desk), and encyclopedias covering your topic to come up with more search terms to help narrow or broaden your topic.
Use this list of terms to search the resources listed in this guide:
Depending on the topic selected, you might wish to consult a librarian concerning government documents resources.
Obtain the Sources
Determine your main sources as early as possible because some of the materials may not be readily available at the Gray Library. You may need to recall books that are checked out, consult the resources of nearby libraries, or request materials from the Lamar Orange Library are made through the Gray Library catalog and may take a few days. Both Interlibrary Loan and the recall process take up to two to three weeks. Interlibrary loan forms are available online via the library home page and at the Reference Desk on the first floor. Gray Library borrows materials from other libraries for Lamar University students, faculty, and staff.
Analyze the Sources
Once you have found your sources you must evaluate and select the most relevant information. Look at the bibliographies and footnotes of your sources. These contain key references that you should review to be sure the source is right for your paper. You may discover that sources you selected are not very useful.
If you are not satisfied with the quantity or quality of your sources, you should consult a reference librarian who can assist you in locating additional print or online resources.