Help is available
Kelly McElroy is the Librarian Liaison to the Rhetoric department. However, any of our Research and Instruction librarians are available to help students.
Online @ Iowa
Check out the Online@Iowa tutorials for help with the following:
Picking a Topic
Sometimes it is hard to pick a topic for your research.
1. Brainstorm. Think of at least five possibilities that fit the assignment.
2. Pick a topic that interest you. You'll be spending time reading and thinking about it, so it should be something that interests you.
3. Match your topic to the scope of the assignment. For example, "underage drinking" may be too large of a topic for a 2-page paper. You can narrow your topic by adding other components, such as a time period or location. "Underage drinking on college campuses" or "depression and underage drinking" are more specific.
4. Ask a question. This may not be necessary every time, but asking a question can be a helpful way to frame your research. "Has underage drinking increased in the past twenty years?" and "How does the media represent underage drinking?" are two very different approaches to the same general topic.
5. Make sure your topic fits the assignment. Reread the assignment and if you're not sure, check with your instructor.
These sites offer some criteria to aid students as they evaluate information: