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Research Guides@Tufts

ENG 1: Fall 2019 with Adam Spellmire

Interests Become Topics

Research is a messy, creative, and powerful process that ultimately leads to learning and the creation of new knowledge

An important part of the research process is turning your interests into topic ideas. A good topic should:

  • Spark your interest and curiosity
  • Inspire deep and critical thinking
  • Change as you learn more

Great topic ideas take time to develop. 

Topics Become Keywords

Distilling topic ideas into single words and short phrases is an important step in the research process. It helps you:

  • Focus and refine your thinking
  • Prepare to search resources like library databases, do more targeted searching on the open web

Example topic: King Cake

  • Mardi Gras/Carnival
  • New Orleans (focus), other cultures (France, Quebec, Spain)
  • childhood memories
  • King Cake baby/fève
  • ingredients: brioche, glaze, sugar, filling
  • symbolism: circular shape, colors, re-birth, Lent, Easter
  • religious festivals/holidays, symbolic festival/holiday foods

Head of the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Library

Darin Murphy's picture
Darin Murphy
W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Library
SMFA at Tufts
230 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
Office: 617 627 0021