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Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics
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Selecting And Narrowing Research Topics

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  • 1. Selecting and Narrowing Research Topics Deanna Blevins RHET 201 American University in Cairo
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. 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
  • 5. 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
  • 6. Asking Questions to Narrow the Topic
    • Questions based on rhetorical mode:
    • Comparison
    • Definition
    • Cause/Effect
    • Process
    • Classification
    • Evaluation
  • 7. Asking Questions by Discipline
    • Economics
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Science
  • 8. Asking Journalists’ Questions
    • Who?
    • What?
    • When?
    • Why?
    • Where?
    • How?
  • 9. 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
  • 10. 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
  • 11. practice
    • Topic: Internet
    • Focus: e-business in Egypt
    • Issue: ??
  • 12. practice
    • Topic: film
    • Focus: Cairo International Film Festival
    • Issues: ??
  • 13. 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.

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