Need an idea for a chemistry research topic?
Check out the latest headlines from the Scientific American Chemistry and C&EN news feeds for possible ideas.
Narrow your Topic
Reference sources like subject specific encyclopedias and handbooks can help you explore the basics of the subject matter you are dealing with, and because they often cover issues or controversies that surround a topic can be helpful in narrowing down or refining a broad research topic.
Wikipedia is another example of an online encyclopedia to use to explore your research topic and develop search vocabulary. (Check out this video from UMASS Lowell about using wikipedia as springboard for your research)
Why formulate a research question?
1. A question allows you to search for answers.
2. A question helps you to determine what are useful sources for your research and discard others that aren't.
3. Will help to indicate when you have enough information to stop your research.
4. Helps avoid potential research bias.
A good research question:
1. Develop search vocabulary by generating direct synonyms, narrower terms and broaders terms for your research concepts.
2. Search book, video, article and web documents for current information that answers your research question.
Select sources for your research that:
Look at specific criteria for evaluating sources:
Purpose. Authority. Currency. Content
Record your sources as you proceed with your research.
NSCC Libraries have several citation tools that can assist you with generating citations and creating a References page for your sources.