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Develop Your Research Topic

Choosing a Topic 
Part of the OWL's Writing a Research Paper Tutorial

Identify and Develop Your Topic
Part of Cornell University's Seven Steps to Effective Library Research.

Selecting a Research Topic
Weber State University's suggestions for topics.


Basic Outlining
How Do We Make an Outline?
The Structure Of The Outline

Outlining Tutorial from OWL at Purdue
Developing an Outline
Why and How to Create a Useful Outline
Types of Outlines and Samples

How To Find Books

The first resource to use to find books is the Rose State College Online Catalog. The online catalog is a database of records for books, periodicals, audio and video materials and other items that make up the holdings of the LRC.

Beginning a Search for Books

You can search the catalog by title, author, subject, keyword or call number. To begin a search, you must define what type of search you wish to perform by changing the SEARCH FIELD (title, author, subject, or call number). Next, input your search term in the WORD(S) field, omitting the initial articles (a, an, or the) in the title, then click the SEARCH button.  

For example:
(author) hemingway, ernest
(title) sun also rises
(subject) oklahoma history
(call number) F694.P45

To search by keyword, you must click on the KEYWORD tab. Change the SEARCH FIELD(s) to the desired fields you wish to search (author, title, subject, or all). Next input your search term(s) and click on the SEARCH button. Searching Tip: For best results select ALL for your SEARCH FIELD(s).

Other Ways of Finding Books

You may wish to use Interlibrary Loan to order titles not available at the LRC, or you may prefer to find alternate titles that are readily available here. There is a one to two-week minimum turnaround time for interlibrary loan requests. Check at the reference desk for further information. Forms are available online at Interlibrary Loan.

An OK-Share card is available at the Circulation Desk. RSC students, faculty and staff may use other academic libraries in this area: OK-Share Program.

WorldCat is the database used to borrow interlibrary loan materials, listing books and journals around the world:

Beginning a Search for Periodicals and Serials

The OPAC includes records for all the periodicals and serials which are received in the LRC.

Search for these items the same way that you search for the title of a book.  Be sure to use the complete name of the title. Do not use the title abbreviations you find in periodical indexes. As with books, omit the initial article (a, an, or the) in the title.

Search Examples:

FOR THIS TITLE: The Political Science Quarterly
DO THIS SEARCH: political science quarterly (omit initial article)

FOR THIS TITLE: Journal of Abnormal Psychology
DO THIS SEARCH: journal of abnormal psychology

How to Find Magazine/Journal Articles

What Are Periodicals?

Periodicals are continuous publications such as journals, newspapers, or magazines. They are issued regularly (daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly). The Rose State LRC Catalog includes records for all the periodicals that are received by the LRC. The Catalog does not include information about the articles within those periodicals. To find a periodical article, use periodical databases or indexes.

Finding Periodicals

When you do not have a citation to a specific article, but you do want to find articles on a subject, by a specific author or authors or with a known article title, you can use one or more periodical indexes. How do you know which periodical index to use?

  • First determine what kind of periodicals you want. Do you want:
    • scholarly journals?
    • newspapers and substantive news sources?
    • popular magazines?
    • all three kinds?
  • If you want popular magazines, begin with one of our online databases, i.e., EBSCOhost.
  • If you are not sure which kind of periodical you want or you are not sure which periodical database or index to use, ask a librarian at the reference desk.
Locating Periodicals in the Library

All hardcopy periodicals in the LRC are shelved alphabetically by title in the south end of the first floor. Back issues of periodicals are kept on microfilm and are shelved next to the hardcopies. If you cannot find what you want, ask at the reference desk.

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

DOD Dictionary of Military Terms 
Encyclopedia Britannica 
The Encyclopedia Britannica is a highly respected encyclopedia. (Off-campus access is available to RSC faculty and students with an active network login.)
Library Vocabulary 
Online medical dictionary. 
Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus 
OneLook Dictionary Search 
Search hundreds of dictionaries at once. 
Oxford English Dictionary 
The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. (Off-campus access is available to RSC faculty and students with an active network login.)
Quotations at 
Online reference resources. 
A hyper-linked dictionary of computer and Internet terms. 
A web-based, free encyclopedia. (Professors might not permit use of this encyclopedia, because anyone can edit the entries.)

Foreign Language Dictionaries and Translators

Acronyms and Abbreviations
The Cambridge History of English and American Literature
Columbia Encyclopedia
Sixth Edition - An online version of the Columbia Encyclopedia.
Dictionary Links
English and Foreign language dictionaries.

Evaluate What You Have Found

Cite What You Find

Updated MLA Style Sheet  (sample citations)

Updated APA Style Sheet  (sample citations)

Great Citation Generators

Contact Info


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Location: 1st floor, LRC

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