Skip to main content

Mathematics: Get Started

algebra, applied_mathematics, combinatorics, computational_mathematics, differential_equations, geometry, mathematical_biology, mathematics_study_and_teaching, probability_and_statistics

Find a Topic

Where to Find Ideas

  • Class discussions or readings
  • Presentations at relevant conferences
  • Articles in discipline related journals and trade publications
  • Relevant current events

Popular Journals in Your Field

Plus Magazine
Free online journal of articles from the top mathematicians and science writers.

The Mathematical Gazette
Covers conservation, the natural world, wildlife, foreign lands & people, urban problems and astronomy.

Mathematics Magazine
International peer-reviewed journal.

Gather Background Information

Search Gale Virtual Reference Library

Why Should I Start with Background Information?

  • Gain familiarity with the topic
  • Identify more specific aspects of the topic on which to focus
  • Provide context and identify differing perspectives
  • Identify experts related to the topic

Narrow a Topic

Narrowing a topic requires you to be more specific about your research interest and can help you to develop a thesis.

Questions to Narrow Your Topic

  • Who? Who is the specific person/group to which you would like to limit your research?
  • What? What specific aspect of the broad topic idea is interesting to you?
  • Where? To which specific geographic area or region would you like to limit your research?
  • When? On what time period would you like your research focused?
  • Why? Why do you think this is an important/interesting topic?

What is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis is typically a one sentence statement in the first paragraph, or beginning, of your project that states your purpose. Thesis statements should be specific, detailed, and meaningful. An abridged form can often be used as the title of the paper; for example,"Classifying quadratic quantum P 2 s by using graded skew Clifford algebras."

How to Develop a Good Research Topic

How to Use Gale Virtual Reference Library

Helpful Handout :: Narrowing Your Topic

This handout illustrates how a research question develops from a broad topic to a focused question.