Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

How to do Research for a College Paper

STEP 2: Brainstorming and Background Information

Brainstorm what you already know and look for additional Background Information. 

  • Identify dates, people involved, places, related issues, and subtopics.
  • If you don't know a lot about the topic, use reference sources, like encyclopedias, to get an overview of the broad topic.



Jot down keywords. 

  • Keywords are:
    • The main concepts in your question
    • Descriptive words
    • Synonyms and related terms
  • These terms will be used to help you search library databases for books and articles.