At this stage of your research, you’re exploring. What sources can help you learn more about your topic, so that you can narrow it down into a “working research question” with a clear purpose?
Use this page to learn about sources to help you gather information that you can use to write your proposal -- or help you learn more about aspects of your research as you continue to discover more about your topic.
Forming a good research question is important before you begin
searching for resources because it can determine the difficulty of
finding information for your topic. There are several characteristics
that good research questions have:
Here are suggestions to create a more focused research topic:
if you are exploring a research question on the impact of technology on some aspect of society, start by searching and exploring sources:
Technology and Society from the Opposing Viewpoints database. This resource gives a lot of narrower topic ideas on this very broad subject
if you are interested in learning more about social media use and mental health, you might search Academic Search Premier to see a wide variety of newspaper, magazine and research articles such as:
Chen, A. (2018). Social Notworking: Is Generation Smartphone Really More Prone to Unhappiness? (Cover story). Scientific American Mind, 29(2), 18–21.
Cingel, D. P., Lauricella, A. R., Taylor, L. B., Stevens, H. R., Coyne, S. M., & Wartella, E. (2022). U.S. adolescents’ attitudes toward school, social connection, media use, and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: Differences as a function of gender identity and school context. PLoS ONE, 17(10), 1–17.
If you are looking for information on barriers to adopting self-driving cars, search for books in the NJIT Library collection. Here are some examples of print and online library books on "autonomous vehicles":
Books can be a great source of background information. Search the NJIT Library for books on your topic -- both print and electronic. Go to the "Books" tab on the NJIT Library website.
The federal government is the largest publisher in the U.S.
Append "site:.gov" to a websearch to find information published by federal, state and local government agencies. The search "food waste" and site:.gov on google finds background information from the USDA on this topic.
What professional or trade organizations might have an interest in your topic? Are you writing about mental health and social media? The search mental health and social media organization turns up multiple organizations that are concerned with this issue.