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Develop a Topic and Create a Concept Map

Develop a Topic

Follow the steps below before searching for information. It will be a big time saver in the end! 

1. Write down your topic as a broad sentence or question. 

2. Identify the main words and concepts in your sentence or question. These are your keywords. 

3. Brainstorm alternative words you can use for each of your keywords in Step 2. These should be synonyms or related ideas. 

  • Tip: Think about terminology that might be used by professionals in various disciplines to discuss the same issue. Use a combination of these when searching.
  • Video Games Violence Children
    Computer Games Violent Behavior Youth
    X-Box Aggression  Teenagers      
    Grand Theft Auto Bullying Juveniles

4. Identify subject areas relevant to your topic. 

  • Tip: Think about who is likely to read and write about your topic. Will there be people from more than one discipline interested? 
  • Example: Psychology, Sociology, Education 

Create a Concept Map

A concept map is another tool you can use to create a search strategy for your topic. Download a Printable Concept Map to create your own.