Your application will have a greater chance of success if you are able to present a well-developed project. Once you've come up with an idea, you'll need to do some research about your topic. What are the major issues involved in your topic? What are the terms associated with it?
One way to begin is by exploring Pratt's research guides, many of which are subject-specific and point you to the most relevant academic resources for that field of study.
Reference sources are a great way to begin your search. They'll show you which sources experts recommend and give you ideas for specific areas of the topic you may want to research. These are often broad and general, so it's best to start here and narrow your topic down as you progress.
Based on your findings in books and reference sources, you'll want to narrow down your topic so that you can focus on a few main points. A few ways to do this are:
Pratt's databases are the best way to find articles, books, and other resources on your topic. You can search multiple databases at one time by using the Research & Discover search box on the Libraries' home page, or search a particular database by making a selection from our list of databases. The subject drop-down menu at the upper left of the page will allow you to see the general and subject-specific databases considered most relevant for a particular discipline.
Research is like a treasure hunt or solving a mystery. We have to try to combine the right terms in the right place to find the information we need. How should you combine search terms to find what you are looking for?
Search for information using the single most important term related to your topic. Use this type of search when looking for basic background information.
Search for information by combining key concepts using the words you have brainstormed. Each concept/word should be separated by the word "AND". Use this kind of search when looking for specific evidence related to your claim/thesis.
Getting Too Many Irrelevant Results?
Add more search terms for narrower results.
Getting Too Few Relevant Results?
Change, switch out, or remove some search terms for more accurate or broader results.
For more information on the research process, including topics such as keyword brainstorming, finding full-text articles and e-books, choosing online sources, and resource searching and assessing results, be sure to check out our video tutorials and slideshows.
For additional advice and help, you can contact the Libraries' Reference Desk through:
You can also arrange a research consultation session with one of our librarians by reaching out to Paul Schlotthauer, Liaison Librarian for Social Sciences, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For help on various aspects of academic writing, an excellent online source is Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL).
Pratt's Writing and Tutorial Center is a great on-campus resource. Visit the Center's Website for more information. Appointments can be scheduled by:
There are numerous online sites providing application tips and advice on writing an effective personal statement, including:
The Balance Careers offers advice on the best way to ask for a recommendation from a professor.