Home / Research How Tos / 2. Explore Topic

Step 2: Explore Topic

To explore your topic, you take stock of what you already know about the topic and, in many cases, do a quick, surface-level search for information about the topic. This will better prepare you when you begin brainstorming keywords and searching for the resources that will inform your paper or assignment.

Key things to know

Infographic: Brainstorming Keywords

Title: Choosing your Keywords Describe your Research Topic Consider phrasing your topic as a question to guide your research What are the main concepts, themes, or theories that you are interested in exploring? Example: How does the media cover student protests? Identify main concepts Identify the main concepts in your description, usually verbs and nouns Avoid using relational words such as: affect, cause, impact Example: student, protest, media Brainstorm related words What other words or phrases may be used to talk about your main concepts? Examples: Student: university, college, undergrad, grad Protest: boycott, demonstration, protest Media: news, television, broadcast, CBC

Choosing Keywords Infographic

Infographic: Where to get started with research

Getting Started with Research - Infographic


  • Get started by reading the Wikipedia entry on your topic. You won’t use Wikipedia as a reference in your research paper, but the notes and citations section at the bottom can give you a great jumping-off point.
  • You may already have all of the background information you need just from the information you’ve learned in class and/or your textbook. Review your course notes and lecture materials for ideas!