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  • Getting Started

    Use the tabs at left to locate the specific types of resources you need including reference encyclopedias and dictionaries, books, journals and research databases, and web resources.

    Thomas Nelson Librarians are ready to help you with your research needs! Contact the Research Help Desk at or call 757-825-2877 for assistance.

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    Develop a research plan

    Develop your research topic.

    What are the key concepts of your topic?  Can you broaden or narrow your focus? Consider focusing on one or more of the following:

    • time period
    • place
    • specific event   
    • specific people

    Does your topic overlap other subject areas such as anthropology, geography or political science?

    Think of 2- 3 questions that you will need to explore.

    • Think about the history of your topic, and its categories.
    • Who are the key people? What did they do? Why did it happen?

    Under each question, think about the following aspects:

    • What do you already know about your topic or issue?
    • What do you need to learn to better understand your topic or issue?
    • What kind of information resource might provide the answer to these questions?

      Consider your audience.

      • Who will read your paper?
      • Why will it be of interest to them?
      • What will be new to them?