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Getting Started in MTC Library

A guide for students at Midlands Technical College Library

Select a Research Topic

One of the first steps to any research project is to choose a topic. Depending on your assignment, this could be a bit daunting. Once you have chosen a general topic, you will need to focus in on something more specific. This process, which is often referred to as narrowing your topic, will help make searching easier because it will help you identify more keywords. Check out this example:

Music --- Hip Hop Music --- Hip Hop Music & Dance --- How have hip hop music videos influenced dance moves in other music genres?

This video provides a few strategies to help narrow your topic.

Generating Search Terms

Once you have a topic, the next step is to pull out the key words or phrases. This is important! While Google makes it easy to search for the answer to your full research question, many library databases do not work that way. Instead, you need to search using only the most important words or ideas.

Let's look at our previous example: How have hip hop music videos influenced dance moves in other music genres?

Some possible keywords would be: hip hop, music videos, & dance.

Check out the resources below for more help!

Generating Keywords Worksheet

Use this worksheet to help generate keywords for your search.

Generating Keywords Worksheet Preview


Generating Keywords Exercise

Create a research paper topic using the University of Texas at Austin's interactive exercise.

How to Generate Search Terms


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