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Research Toolkit: Getting Started

This research toolkit provides a collection of sources, tools, and information that you can use to produce a research study.

The Research Process

The Information Search Process

Define topic Brainstorm keywords Search  Revise and search again  Use results

Define Your Topic

Brainstorm for topic ideas

When selecting a topic, be sure to choose a subject area that is of genuine interest to you. Consider these questions:

  • What aspects of your topic are you interested in? (environmental, economic, political, etc.)
  • What time period or geographic area are you interested in?
  • What do you already know about the topic?

CQ Researcher is a great place to find ideas. This full text database provides overviews and the pros and cons on current controversial issues with complete summaries, bibliographies and timelines.

Find background information

If you are interested in a topic which is unfamiliar to you, reading an encyclopedia article or book chapter about the subject can help you define your topic idea. Sources to consult for background information include:


Why use OneSearch?

OneSearch is a discovery tool that searches across library holdings, without having to use different search interfaces.

With one easy, Google-like search, you can find a wide variety of library holdings. Use the filters on the sidebar to easily narrow your search by format, date ranges, subjects, and more.

Try out OneSearch now!


About Databases

Choose a database

What is a database? Library databases are searchable collections of information in electronic format. Databases provide citation information about the items they index and some databases provide full-text of the articles.   

General databases like Onesearch or Academic Search Premier are great for exploring a topic and include magazine, journal and newspaper articles on many subjects. 

Use subject specific databases if you are doing in-depth research on a topic.  You can find recommended databases in the subject and course guides

Keywords and subject headings

Develop a list of keywords and phrases: keep track of words that you discover in the search process. See Creating Search Queries for more detail on choosing keywords.

Ask us!

Visit us at the
Knowledge Center Research Desk

(775) 682-5657

The UNR Libraries provide help in-person, over the phone, by email, and via live chat.

Use What You Find

Citing & Writing

Get writing help at UNR's Writing Center

General writing resources at Purdue OWLThese OWL resources will help you with the writing process: pre-writing, developing research questions and outlines, composing thesis statements, and proofreading.