How to develop a research topic

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How to develop a research topic

  1. 1. HOW TO DEVELOP A RESEARCH TOPIC ?
  2. 2. Introduction In the following slides, we will guide you the steps and strategies to: develop a research theme develop a research topic
  3. 3. What is meant by “Research”? Is it what you think about “research”??
  4. 4. What is meant by “Research”?  research = “a close and careful study”  to explore the answers for a question, that the answers are not immediately available  not to answer a closed question; meanwhile, to answer from different resources and viewpoints  to do a research is to expand the knowledge base of a certain subject, and even to explore new knowledge, so as to benefit the society
  5. 5. Steps of developing a research topic 1 • Formulate a research theme 2 • Formulate a specific research topic 3 • Narrow down / Expand your research topic (if necessary)
  6. 6. Strategies on formulating a research theme You need to consider the followings when you are developing a research theme: to choose a theme that is relevant to your course of study to think of themes and topics that you feel interested in. As you will work on the same topic through-out the coming months to think of argumentative topics
  7. 7. Possible ways to dig-out a research theme: glance through books and journal articles about your course pay much attention to the issues that people are discussing in the society read more newspapers and journal articles to get more inspirations on different viewpoints of issues glance through a subject guide of your course of study website: http://libguides.ln.edu.hk/ Strategies on formulating a research theme (continued)
  8. 8. If you are not sure of your research theme, you can: discuss with your instructor or teaching assistants discuss with your peers to get more inspirations get help from librarians and library resources use the Research Consultation service offered by the Library Helping hands in formulating a research theme
  9. 9. Examples of a research theme Juvenile delinquency in Hong Kong The development of QDII Slavery system in the US in the 19th century Up to now, we have just touched on the research theme, what you need to do NOW is to form a research question
  10. 10. From a research theme to a research question A research question is the real "question" that you need to find the answer by doing your research paper or project
  11. 11. Strategies of developing a research topic • NOT to think of a "closed" question, which means not much elaboration and explanation can be made • Try to use the “5W” method to brainstorm about the topic: Why? What? When? How? Which? •
  12. 12. Note-taking in developing a research topic • You should take notes when you read on : some interesting viewpoints that are related to your research topic new developments and new trends of the topic keywords and subject headings that you found remarkable for your further research some quotations that are catchy or memorable
  13. 13. How to organize the materials and develop a research question? When developing a research question, researchers often visualize the research concepts Q: Why visualize? A: It is an easy way to find the logic and the relationship among different concepts, so as to dig-out a research question. Here are 2 suggestions: Draw a radial diagram to show the relationships between an event/incident/phenomenon and the smaller concepts (or causes). Draw a Venn diagram to show the relationship and different areas of the main topics you choose. Usually the overlapping area is the area you can further investigate into
  14. 14. Sample Radial Diagram Sample Venn Diagram
  15. 15. More hints on developing a research question Ask yourself these questions when developing a research question: Is the topic interesting? Do you want to know more about it? Would information be too hard to find? Is the scope of the topic far too difficult for you? Is the topic too limiting?

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