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Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
 

Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics

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    Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics Presentation Transcript

    • Selecting and Narrowing Research Topics Deanna Blevins RHET 201 American University in Cairo
    • Selecting a Topic
      • Review assignment guidelines for requirements.
      • Not too broad or too narrow (depends on assignment length).
      • Relevant in the context (audience, time, situation, place, etc.)
        • Debatable, controversial, important
      • Sources are available.
    • More considerations in choosing a topic
      • Choose a topic you want to learn about. It should be interesting to you.
      • Remember that research should lead to DISCOVERY, not merely confirmation of what you already think or know. Keep an open mind and be objective.
    • Avoiding topics
      • Commonly written about.
        • Too difficult to add your own insights
        • Too easy to plagiarize
        • Might bore audience
      • Simplistic issues, easily answerable.
        • Won’t test your research or critical thinking skills. Leads to cliches.
      • Arguments that overly rely on religious or ethical perspectives.
        • Audience might not share your beliefs
    • Narrowing a Topic
      • Use demographic categories to help:
        • Age
        • Sex or gender
        • Ethnicity
        • Nationality
        • Race
        • Class
        • Religion
        • Education
        • Geographic factors: region/country, urban/rural
        • Time periods
    • Asking Questions to Narrow the Topic
      • Questions based on rhetorical mode:
      • Comparison
      • Definition
      • Cause/Effect
      • Process
      • Classification
      • Evaluation
    • Asking Questions by Discipline
      • Economics
      • History
      • Psychology
      • Sociology
      • Literature
      • Business
      • Science
    • Asking Journalists’ Questions
      • Who?
      • What?
      • When?
      • Why?
      • Where?
      • How?
    • Example for narrowing a topic
      • Topic: Education
      • Geographically—in Upper Egypt
      • Class—among Egypt’s upper class
      • Age—primary education
      • Sex/gender—primary education among upper Egyptian females
      • Religion—religious education in upper Egypt
      • Ethnicity—primary education for upper Egypt’s Nubian population
    • Finding an Issue
      • An issue is an aspect of the topic that you can analyze and/or take a position on.
        • Examples:
        • Curriculum reform
        • Private lessons
          • Government role in education reform
          • NGO/foreign donor role in education reform
    • practice
      • Topic: Internet
      • Focus: e-business in Egypt
      • Issue: ??
    • practice
      • Topic: film
      • Focus: Cairo International Film Festival
      • Issues: ??
    • Moving to the next step
      • Choose a reasonably narrowed topic.
      • Find a general article on your subject (a magazine or newspaper article, an introduction to a book, an encyclopedia entry).
      • Skim it to see if it interests you and brings up any issues.
      • Read carefully, making notes and underlining.
      • Identify issues within your topic
      • Write research questions that you want/need to know the answers to.