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Assignment | Footprint Project (Benford): Selecting a Topic

GEOL 1405 | Prof. Bryn Benford (Fall 2021)

Before You Research

The Just A Minute Game has given you a great strategy to get to know a bit about the potential topics. How did you find quick credible information? Google, right? Was the information accurate, current, unbiased and written by an expert? Evaluate information for credibility looking at these elements.

More Background Resources

Enter a simple search word or phrase to learn more about your basic topic. Click the icons on the image below to learn more about the features of the Gale Ebooks search results.

Explore related ideas to your topic visually with the Topic Finder tool.

Gale Topic Finder search for "vaccination" showing colored, scaled tiles of related terms, and links to articles on the right.

Topics in the News

Science section of nYT


Take 3 minutes to watch "Jenni" learn to brainstorm to her just-the-right-size  topic.

Mind-Map Concepts


Research involves finding and reading information mindfully. Taking notes as well as mind-mapping are important. Like Google Maps you want to know where you have been and the route to your final destination. Detours are possible.
Mind map of stratigraphy

Research is a Process

Research is a process. First, become familiar with your topic. Background and overview information can be found in your textbook as well as some of the databases in the library.  Understand the landscape of concepts and key terms that surround a topic, much like a map with these concepts and terms guiding you to the place you are trying to find. This will help you develop a context for your topic as well as get to know the specialized terms used by experts.

Credo Reference   is helpful at this stage of the research process. This subject-specific encyclopedic collection will have overview articles published or written by authoritative sources. 

As you select and develop your topic with keywords, concepts and related terminology, you will be narrowing the scope of your research.

See the components of a search result and an explanation of what the results mean.