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Searching for Scholarly Articles

Some basics on finding relevant articles.

Finding a Research topic


The best way to pick a research topic is to allocate a plenty of time to brainstorm ideas.  Keep track and record the ideas in a document or log book for assessing later.

  • What is the most interesting thing about the topic or idea you may have?
  • Do you have any personal experience in the topic? If so, how significant is that in the discipline.
  • What course work is related to the topic and how interesting was that to you? Was there any question unanswered for you?
  • Have you read any interesting article or information related to the topic?
  • What is currently happening in the area of your interest?

Once you select a topic of discussion, the next step is to identify possible keywords related to the topic.

Breakdown your topic or research idea into concepts and think about synonyms and possible terms.

What is a key term?

A key term is a word which you believe needs to be in the article.

Consider this term/word may have other related words or like terms (synonyms) that can be in an article and you would be interested in reading it.

Where do you get key term(s)?

Begin by using your assignment or/and the topic of interest. Do not place all terms in at once!

Drop all unnecessary words like small words "a,"  "the," "kind," "compare," "and," "perhaps," etc. If you use these words, you are saying "I want this in my article," but are these details necessary to have. You only need the essential word(s) or term(s). 

Where can you get more terms?

There are several places to look 

  1. Use mind mapping with Credo reference
  2. The dictionary
  3. The thesaurus
  4. The encyclopedia
  5. Your textbook

Now you are beginning to brainstorm.


Mind mapping is an excellent way to represent your thoughts and information graphically. Mind map can help you organize your ideas and brainstorm more concepts, words, tasks , and other associated elements to arrange them around a central notion . Mind maps can be a great starting point of your research.

You can make mind map on a large sheet of paper or can use various digital tools available for you!

The University of British Columbia has produced this video to explain mind mapping:

Adapted from Florida Atlantic University Libraries Libguide

Are you aware of Credo Reference? The university of Calgary has subscribed to credo reference, a great info base to help you with your research and writing. 

All you have to  do is search for a topic and get access various resources relevant to your topic including definition, mind map, videos, and images.

CMap Tools

is a result of research conducted at the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition


Free, requires a google account


MindNode is an iOS/MacOS application that has a full feature set and allows createing attractive maps.