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WRI 1100: Beers: STEP 1: Identify your topic

WRI 1100:Beers

Library Web Site Overview

View this 4:41 minute video to see a brief overview of a few parts SPU library web site.

Mapping Scholarly Conversation

From ACRL Threshold Concepts text. "In this pre-research lesson, students create concept maps for topics that they are considering research assignments."

STEP 1: Identify Your Research Topic

1. Identify your research topic. 

  • If your assignment doesn't specify a topic, ask yourself these questions:
    • What subjects do you already know something about?
    • What subjects are you passionate about?
    • What subjects do you have a strong opinion about-positive or negative?
  • Narrow or broaden your topic.
    • Broad : Digital Devices
    • Narrower:   Digital devices and how they have an impact on writing and reading
  • State your research proposal as a question.
    • How are digital devices having an impact on reading and writing in secondary schools?
  • Find some background information on your topic
    • List what you know about your topic
    • List what you still need to know about your topic
    • Use an encyclopedia
    • or Wikipedia 
    • or Google Scholar
  • Use a concept map below to organize your ideas (Concept Maps: What the heck is this?)
  • Take notes on cards, in a notebook, on your computer using a word processing program, in a Google Docs document, or in a OneDrive document.

Note: When you start researching, your thesis or topic may change.

 

Narrowing your topic

Too much information?  Make your results list more manageable.  Less, but more relevant, information is key.  Here are some options to consider when narrowing the scope of your paper:

  • Theoretical approach:  Limit your topic to a particular approach to the issue.  For example, if your topic concerns cloning, examine the theories surrounding of the high rate of failures in animal cloning.
  • Aspect or sub-area:  Consider only one piece of the subject.  For example, if your topic is human cloning, investigate government regulation of cloning.
  • Time:  Limit the time span you examine.  For example, on a topic in genetics, contrast public attitudes in the 1950's versus the 1990's.
  • Population group:  Limit by age, sex, race, occupation, species or ethnic group.  For example, on a topic in genetics, examine specific traits as they affect women over 40 years of age.
  • Geographical location:  A geographic analysis can provide a useful means to examine an issue.   For example, if your topic concerns cloning, investigate cloning practices in Europe or the Middle East.