You will need to do some initial literature searching and reading on your potential topic for two reasons:
- to clarify and solidify your research question because you can't test a vague research question
- determine if someone else has already asked and answered your research question
The next tab, Search the Literature, covers where and how to search. While doing your initial search, be looking for the niche where you can do your research:
- gaps in the knowledge on a subject area
- questions about your topic that remain unanswered
- areas of disagreement in your subject area that need to be settled
After you've refined your topic, then you can go back and do further searching to find the most relevant sources for your research question, which you'll want to discuss in the literature review. Referring to the Literature Review Process image at the right, you are going to make a feedback loop between Select a Topic and Search the Literature. An initial, broad search will define your topic and then a second, narrower search will identify the sources most relevant to your refined topic.
Even in this initial searching, it's important to keep track of what you read and which articles are important in defining your topic. A bibliographic management software is an excellent tool for managing the literature. The UNT Libraries make RefWorks available to all UNT students, staff, and faculty, and its advantage is you have already paid for it through library fees. See the library's RefWorks guide for details on creating your account and using RefWorks. Zotero and Mendeley are free web-based reference managers you may want to explore; you will have to purchase software/online access for other reference managers, e.g., EndNote.