‘Choosing a Topic’ tutorial featured on instructional materials website

Lesson helps students find research topics

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Librarian Amanda Clossen’s informative online tutorial “Choosing a Topic” was recently featured as Site of the Month by PRIMO, a committee of the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Instruction Section. PRIMO (Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online) promotes instructional materials created by librarians to help users find and evaluate information. Clossen’s tutorial, which was chosen as PRIMO’s site of the month for November, focuses on a problem that many new students face: how to decide what topic to write about.

The tutorial, which can be viewed at, offers a number of pointers to guide students. It suggests some key databases to use and provides tips on how to create a research question. One of the highlights of the tutorial is a video on how to create a concept map. This guide will be a helpful starting point for any student who is having trouble developing a research topic and will prove particularly useful for World Campus students as it can be accessed at any time. PRIMO’s interview with Clossen, in which she describes the process for creating the tutorial and the reasons behind why she created it, can be read online.

The libraries also offer a number of other online tutorials including “Locating the Wall Street Journal,” “How to Use Wikipedia” and “Begin Your Research.” The tutorials also cover other topics, like how to find full-text journal articles and how to use the libraries’ search engine, LionSearch. 

For more details, see

Amanda Clossen, learning design librarian, Library Learning Services Credit: Wilson Hutton, public relations and marketing, University Libraries / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated January 09, 2015