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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.