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What's a personal interest of yours? A hobby, or something you wish were a hobby?
Is there something you've heard about in the news that sticks in your mind?
What's your favorite food? How do those ingredients get to consumers? What cultural aspects are there?
You can also browse the recommended databases -- each one has a home page of selected topics that changes regularly. Clicking around can help you discover some ideas.
Organize Your Brainstorm
Organize Your Thoughts with a Mind Map
Mind maps are a great tool to help you organize your thoughts and see new information or connections that you might not have previously been aware of. As you develop your mind map, narrow your topic down from a broad topic to a specific research question. You will use this research question, and the keywords you've identified on your mind map, to search the library databases for resources. As you utilize the research databases, continue to fill in information on your mind map to help you see if there are gaps in your research that you need to address.
Wikipedia lacks authority because anybody can edit it. Further, and even more importantly, it's an encyclopedia: it gives you a lot of information without analysis. For college-level research, this isn't the kind of source you should be drawing on. Encyclopedia Britannica and Webster's wouldn't make good sources, either.
Building Out a Topic (To Narrow Down Later)
Start off with your theme or initial topic idea.
Start writing down what comes to mind -- what do you already know about this central idea? Include specific examples, keywords, causes, impacts... throw everything at the wall now. We'll worry about what sticks later.
Don't stop with just one layer of ideas -- keep drilling deeper!
Once you get stuck, start doing some not-really-research. Hit up Google, Wikipedia, your textbook, and so to get some more bits and pieces to add in.
You may have started out thinking you knew what that central idea would involve, but now you can see how big (and how many possible directions for research) there really are!
Now that you can see what's going on, consider where your connections are strongest, or where you've made the most most, or what seems most interesting to you.
What are you asking yourself about those ideas? How do they relate to each other? What do you want to find out more of?
This view represents one possibility for a narrower topic. We might ask,
How does the psychology of confirmation bias contribute to the spread (or maybe creation) of fake news?
How can people recognize and overcome their personal biases?
Is fake news inherent to social media?
What has fake news looked liked through history, prior to the Internet?
... and another possibility.
Do limits on free speech apply to misinformation shared on private social networks?
Does (or should) the government have the power to regulate information shared on social media in order to protect the public interest?