There are a lot of obstacles students encounter as they do their research. These videos, put together by the librarians at NC State, help to demystify some of the process.
How do you pick a topic? And what happens if, once you’ve picked it, you can’t find any scholarly research on it! Are you doomed? No. This is normal. Every single researcher, from the most junior to the most senior, encounters this.
But what if I’m trying to do the research and I’m not finding anything?
One problem might be that you’re looking for the “perfect article”:
Another problem might be that you’re not properly narrowing your search–finding over a million articles on a topic could be as daunting as finding none! Learn to use proper phrase searching in this video:
Above all, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can think up a good topic on your own. Good topics come as a result of research. This means that first you have to do research in a very blind way–you don’t know what you’re looking for. When you find some angle that interests you, your research changes and narrows. This second phase of research is what will provide evidence for your paper.