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The State University of New York at FredoniaReed Library

Research Guide Proposed Layout: Start Here

Choosing a Topic

Before you begin your research, you need a topic. To get topic ideas and background information, look at encyclopedias, textbooks, professional society websites, journals, news sites, or newspapers.

When you're reading about your topic, write down some keywords or phrases. These terms will help you when you're ready to search for articles.

Searching for Your Topic

1) Write down the topic you're interested in researching

Example: Migratory patterns of Killer Whales in the Pacific


2) Breakdown you topic into keywords. 

Example: Migratory patterns of Killer Whales in the Pacific


3) Next, right of list of synonyms for each keyword

Example: Migratory patterns (migration, migrate, range, habitat), Killer Whales (Orca, Orcinus orca), Pacific (Pacific Ocean)


4) Choose a database and plug the keywords into different search boxes.  If you only have one search box, you can use an AND in between the words

Example: Migratory patterns AND orcinus orca AND pacific ocean

For additional searching tips, visit our guide on search strategies.

Looking for More Info?

Visit our Getting Started with Research page!

Accessibility Statement

Reed Library is dedicated to making information accessible for everyone. If you notice an accessibility issue within this guide, please contact Katelynn Telford at

Daniel A. Reed LibraryThe State University of New York at Fredonia • 280 Central Ave., Fredonia, NY 14063 • 716-673-3184 • Fax: 716-673-3185 •