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Mellon College of Science: 38-304: PROPEL: Science Communication and Social Impact (Spring 2021): Finding a Research Topic

This guide provides tips and resources for research projects.

Use Background Material or Scientific Reviews to Find an Article with Intrigue

Although some of you have already worked in a lab and have great topic ideas to use to find an article for the final assignment, others may not.  For those of you not working in a research setting, this page should help!  As you read background or review literature be especially mindful of article segments pertaining to future research, discussion or conclusions. They could lead you to a really exciting primary research article related to climate change.  With an exciting article, that will allow you to focus more on the rubric for the assignment (your oral presentation skills and the quality of your slides).

Locate Background Material

The resources below can provide succinct overviews of the various aspects of climate change.  Some might even suggest areas of future work or indicate active research areas.  In addition to these databases, consider trying to find a recent scientific review article that is related to the topic.  See the box to the right.

Locating Review Articles

In many cases, finding a scientific review article will entail taking the results of a topical search and then simply finding those which contain the word "review" OR "survey" OR the phrase "state of the art" in the title.  Many of these review articles will help to identify knowledge gaps in the field, near-term opportunities for scientific advancement or prime areas for problem-solving applications. 

A few databases actually allow you to search for a "Review Article" document type.  They are: