Data Services Librarian
Choosing a Research Topic
Lots of tools are available to help you choose a topic and also some for refining it.
1. Your professor - the expert in several things:
- topics that are likely to work well
- resources you should consider, and most importantly,
- what will be evaluated for your class.
2. At the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
- Browse the Bibliography of Data-Related Literature - http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/ICPSR/citations/
This lists articles which cite ICPSR data sets. See what others have written on your topic. See what others from NC State have written.
- Browse the Thesaurus - http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/shared/ICPSR/thesaurus/index
ICPSR uses a controlled vocabulary system to categorize their data sets. See what terms are related.
- Browse by Subject - http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/ICPSR/access/subject.jsp
See what kinds of data sets are available related to subject areas in which you're interested
- Browse the Publications-Related Archive - http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/ICPSR/pra/ - Extend an existing study. These data sets are specifically formulated to provide researchers with the tools to replicate earlier studies but for a different geography or time period. Consider doing a local edition of a national survey or compare your state to another that's already been surveyed.