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The Research Assignment - Define the Task
Before selecting a topic or starting your research, make sure you understand your assignment. Consider:
- Have you been assigned a topic or can you pick your own?
- How many pages/words do you need to write? How long is your presentation?
- Do you need to include specific types of sources (e.g. scholarly journal articles, book, etc.)?
- When is the assignment due? How much time do you have to research?
- Is having recent information (from the last five years, last ten years) important?
When in doubt, consult with your instructor.
Choose a topic that interests you and will hold your attention. If you do, the research will be more enjoyable!
Can’t think of a topic to research?
- Think about discussion you've had in class. What was the most interesting to you?
- Discuss topics with your instructor, a librarian or a classmate.
- Scan Twitter/Facebook/your social media of choice. What's trending?
Developing Research Questions
Once you have selected a topic, the next step is to develop research questions.
- Write down what you already know or don't know about the topic.
- Use that information to develop questions.
- Use probing questions. (why? what if?)
- Avoid "yes" and "no" questions.