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How to develop a research topic

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  • 1. HOW TO DEVELOP A RESEARCH TOPIC ?
  • 2. Introduction In the following slides, we will guide you the steps and strategies to: develop a research theme develop a research topic
  • 3. What is meant by “Research”? Is it what you think about “research”??
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Sample Radial Diagram Sample Venn Diagram
  • 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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