The research process begins with identifying your topic. Use your course readings and discussions as starting places to discover areas of interest. Start topic brainstorming with what interests you most. The more interested your are in your topic, the easier it will be to research!
Having a narrow topic will save you hours of research. Take the time to answer these questions to narrow your topic:
To help familiarize yourself with your topic, it is helpful to do preliminary research in encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc. Preliminary research can also help with:
Tip: Your research topic may change significantly after preliminary research. It's easier to change topics now then when you've started finding sources or drafting your paper.
Use the following resources to get a general, high-level information about your area of interest
Other good resources for preliminary research include:
The end goal of the initial stage of research is to form a research question. This question is going to guide you as you conduct your research and guide your audience as they read your paper or view your project.
|Workable Research Questions
|Unworkable Research Questions
How does pet ownership affect college students mental health?
This question prompts you to look at multiple perspectives on pet ownership and mental health.
How does pet ownership decrease stress for college students?
This question contains bias as it is assuming that pets will decrease stress, which would make you unlikely to research where pet ownership might increase stress.
How does daily Instagram usage affect teenagers' self esteem?
This question is focused and relevant, and will be easier to organize your research and writing.
How does social media affect people's behavior?
This is too broad!
How does the history of the Southern Baptist Convention influence the experience of African American SBC pastors?
Notice how specific this topic has become. To go from racism in the USA, I first narrowed down to racism and Christianity in the US, and finally to racism within a specific denomination.
Does racism exist in the USA?
This question is both too broad and can be answered quickly: yes! Avoid yes or no questions.
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