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EXSC 1800 - Technology in Exercise Science and Health Promotion

Technology in Exercise Science and Health Promotion

Step 1: Choosing & Narrowing a Topic

Step 1: Choosing and Narrowing a Topic

1. The first step in defining your research topic is to review your assignment. Ask yourself:

  • Are there any guidelines I need to follow (as outlined by the instructor)?
  • What are some of the current trends or issues in this area?
  • Then, ask yourself some questions to narrow your topic.
    • WHY did you choose the topic? What interests you about it?  Do you have an opinion about the issues involved?
    • WHO are the information providers on this topic?  Who might publish information about it?  Who is affected by the topic? Do you know of organizations or institutions affiliated with the topic?
    • WHAT are the major questions for this topic?  Is there a debate about the topic?  Are there a range of issues and viewpoints to consider?
    • WHERE is your topic important: at the local, national or international level?  Are there specific places affected by the topic?
    • WHEN is/was your topic important? Is it a current event or an historical issue?  Do you want to compare your topic by time periods?
    • (Content reproduced from under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License)

2. State your topic as a question. 

     What effect does genetically engineered food have on the health of consumers?

3. Identify the main concepts.

     genetically engineered foods AND health AND consumers

4. Select alternative keywords for main concepts.

genetically altered foods GMO (genetically modified organisms)
biotechnology and food
genetically engineered
health and safety food safety
well being
consumers public

5. Test your topic. Make sure to pick a topic that will have enough information available. Do a preliminary search to see if there is enough information about your topic by following steps 2 to 4.

Step 2: Find Background Information

Step 2: Find Background Information

Background and introductory information places a research topic into a greater context. Lecture notes, textbooks, and reference books such as encyclopedias and almanacs make up important background information.

1. A reputable encyclopedia dictionaries, handbooks and encyclopedias. Look up keywords in the index of an encyclopedia, find the entry, and don't forget to take note of the bibliography at the end of the article for further readings.

2. A major article on the topic, like one from CQ Researcher or other sources. Read articles in the sources you find to set the context of your research. Pay close attention to the vocabulary the authors use.

3. The Library of Congress Subject Headings (in the Library) to find possible subjects to search for books.   

4. Search for bibliographies to guide you to other sources of information (books, articles, etc.) in the Library Catalog by conducting a subject search on your topic followed by Bibliography. Example: Human Rights -- Bibliography

5. Collect keywords or important terms, concepts and author names to use when searching databases. Start thinking in broad terms, then narrow or broad your topic. 

Step 3: Find Books

Step 3: Find Books

Books provide broader, more extensive information on a given topic. The Library Catalog allows you to search for books at Otterbein and OhioLINK. The materials located in the library where you are working appear in bold text on the screen. You will notice many ways to search, such as Title, Author, Subject, Subject Keyword, etc.

  • Use KEYWORD searching for narrowly defined or complex topics.
  • Use SUBJECT searching for broader or more standard subjects.
  • Write down the CALL NUMBER to locate a book on the shelf in the library.

The Courtright Memorial Library uses the Library of Congress classification system. This system classifies the materials in the collection by subject. For a more detailed look at the system, browse the Library of Congress Classification Outline.

Step 4: Find Articles

Step 4: Find Articles

Current and specific information is found in articles in periodicals (magazines, journals, or newspapers). Articles are often used to update and support the information in books.

The most effective way to find articles on a given topic is to use an index. In the past, researchers would have to use print indexes to find articles on a topic, write down the citation, then go to the shelves to find the article in the print issue of the periodical. This method is still used for retrospective or historical research. However, today we have article databases which index articles by subject and often provide the full text of the article.

  • Select one of the article databases available from the library website.
  • Search the database using the keywords from your research question.
  • Both scholarly and popular periodicals are available. Decide what level of scholarship you need by consulting Scholarly Journals v. Popular Magazines.
  • If the full text of the article is available through the database, print or email the article to yourself.
  • If only the citation is available, you can:

Check the library A-Z Journal List to see whether the library have access to it.

Make an Interlibrary Loan Request for the item.

Topic Ideas

Try the resources below to help you get ideas for possible research topics:

More sources of topics on international sports

Use the A-Z Journal List!

When you are looking for a particular journal or magazine, always check the Otterbein A-Z list to see if we have it. 

If we don't have the journal you need, remember that you can always do Interlibrary Loan to get the article.