Research Help

Library Instruction: Before You Start

How do you start a research project? You have to choose a topic, narrow your topic and come up with the key words you’ll need to search for books and articles on your topic…and this is before you even start research and writing!

Here are some free online tools to help you through the process.

Brainstorming logo provides you with a fun way to map and visualize your topic. You have to create an account (it’s easy) to save, print and export. is also great for group projects as can be seen below.

death penalty flow sheet
kwmap logo

KwMap claims to be a “Keyword Map for the Whole Internet”! It may not be all that but it does help you come up with ideas about your topic with an interactive navigation panel and a list of keywords.

gulf war kw map image

Google Wonder Wheel Logo

The Wonder Wheel is a visual concept map in Google. It's a great tool to find or define a research topic.

ATTN:To use the Wonder Wheel, first disable Google Instant--see Where did Google's Wonder Wheel Go?

To use Wonder Wheel, perform a regular search in Google (link above).

Google Wonder Wheel

Click around and find out more about a specific topic.
Google Wonder Wheel

Visuwords logo

VisuWords is an online graphical dictionary. Put in any word and watch it go!

Visuwords results