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Lesson 3: Developing a Topic
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Lesson 3: Developing a Topic

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  • 1. CPRG 105: Lesson 3 Developing Your Topic
  • 2. Research Question Key Concept Key Concept Key Concept Think about Key Concepts
  • 3.  A solid research question addresses a problem or issue.  It is neither too broad, nor too narrow.  It identifies a controversy or problem related to your approach.
  • 4. RESEARCH QUESTION THESIS  Addresses a problem to be solved.  Provides a tentative answer to the research question.  Your research project TESTS your thesis. THESIS: Young people in America tend not to vote. RESEARCH QUESTION: How can we encourage young people in America to vote?
  • 5. Badke, William B. Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog. 4th ed. New York: iUniverse, 2011 Print. Badke photo from http://acts.twu.ca/Library/badke.htm “The best research questions are simple ones that still require a good deal of analysis to answer” (36).
  • 6.  The question that isn’t there  The fuzzy question  The multipart question  The open-ended question  The question that will not fly The following examples are taken from: Badke, William B. Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog. 4th ed. New York: iUniverse, 2011 Print.
  • 7.  Projects that merely compile information; there is no problem to solve  Often far too broad  Serve no real purpose “What were the events of 1914 that led to the start of WWI?” BETTER: “Was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand really as significant a cause of WWI as many scholars assume?” (Badke 226)
  • 8.  Not focused clearly.  Can’t tell what your goal is or what you are trying to find out. “Is Globalization a good thing?” BETTER: “What evidence is there that the development of global free trade actually improves the economic life of the poorest producers of goods?” (Badke 227-228)
  • 9.  Two or more parts to the question and it is hard to tell which is the primary goal  Two or more parts and they address totally different aspects of the topic “What are the causes of WWI and how could WWI be avoided and why is war evil?” BETTER: In examining the causes of WWI, how could this war have been avoided? One question per research project! (Badke 229)
  • 10.  Question is fairly narrow, but there are many ways to answer it  Question is broad and is capable of being answered in many ways “If we were to legalize all currently illegal drugs, what would that mean for our country?” BETTER: How valid is the argument that legalizing all currently illegal drugs would stabilize or diminish drug use? (Badke 230-231)
  • 11.  Questions that cannot be answered given our current state of knowledge “Is today’s generation smarter than the last one because it knows how to text message?” No fix for this. Pick a question you can actually research! (Badke 35; 232)
  • 12. Broad Topic ◦ VOTING  More narrow ◦ YOUTH VOTE  Still more narrow ◦ YOUTH VOTE IN AMERICA
  • 13. GENERAL TOPIC: Youth vote in America Research question: What encourages young people in America to vote?
  • 14.  A real world information need for someone you know (or for you) ◦ Needs to be somewhat academic in nature ◦ You need to be able to find scholarly sources (scholarly journal articles and books)  Narrow it enough for research for a hypothetical 5-7 page paper  Develop an appropriately focused and well- worded Research Question

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