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Veteran Student Life

This guide has been developed to centralize resources and services tailored towards the veteran student experience

Define Your Topic

Define Your Topic

Choosing your topic can be a difficult process - it is important to pick a topic that is not so narrow that little if anything has been written about it, yet it is also important to pick a topic that is not so broad that there is too much information and it is impossible to develop a coherent and focused thesis.

  • Try Elicit to generate a few options for your initial research topic and narrow it down to a specific population, geographical location, disease, etc.
  • You may explore a similar tool, LitSense to identify additional search terms.
  • Use other Artificial Intelligence tools carefully and thoughtfully to begin a discussion on what to write about, what databases to search, and get guidance on how to write a literature review. Some tools for exploration: Chat GPT, Bing Chat, Bard, and

There are numerous strategies for selecting an appropriate topic - here are a few tips to help you with that:

  • CQ Researcher - This database contains articles that give a broad overview of recent topics of interest - try to find an article in here covering a subject that is interesting to you. These articles will give you good background information on your topic and they will help you to identify keywords to help you to have a more effective search in our article databases.
  • Opposing Viewpoints -  Explore the pros and cons of a particular issue or topic.
  • Web of Science - this article database has the ability to identify related articles by citation tracking. This refers to the idea of starting with one article that is appropriate for your topic and searching for articles that cite the initial article or articles that are cited by the initial article. This database is unique among UMD Library sources in that it allows users to find articles that have cited a given article - this can be a great technique for identifying more recent articles on your topic of interest.