Choosing a Topic and Developing Research QuestionsIntroductionSelecting and evaluating a topicDeveloping research questionsTalk About ItYour TurnTech Tools in this presentation• RSS• Bloglines
IntroductionYou’ve been assigned a research paper, and you’vechosen a subject that’s interesting to you.How do you figure out what part of your subject toresearch? There are so many possibilities!You need to focus.Narrow your subjectto a specific topicthat is suitable forresearch.
IntroductionOne way to break a broad subject into separate topicsis to use a mind map. gaming popularity systems cultural VIDEO GAMES production influence design technology
Selecting and evaluating a topicThe Internet can be a valuable tool when you’relooking for the most up-to-date information on yourtopic.However, it’s very important to make sure theinformation you find online is current. How do we know this information is current?
Tech Tool: RSSRSS (Rich Site Summary or Really SimpleSyndication) keeps you up to date on new Webcontent. It displays a headline on your desktopwhenever a Web site to which you have subscribed isupdated.You can use RSS to gather information on topics thatyou are considering for your research. Instead of you finding updates, the updates find you!
Tech Tool: RSSOne way to view your RSS feeds—information aboutthe sites to which you have subscribed—is to use afeed reader. A feed reader will manage your feeds inthe same way that an e-mail account manages e-mailmessages.Like e-mails, the information you are researching isdelivered automatically to your reader as it is updated.
Tech Tool: BloglinesTo set up an RSS feed, go to a feed reader such asBloglines.Bloglines is a free site thathelps you locate items ofinterest in blogs, Web sites,and more by using an RSSfeed. Video gamesUse the ideas generated • Cultural influencesfrom your research to createkeywords, and then search • Technologyfor those keywords with • Gaming systemsBloglines.
Tech Tool: BloglinesWith a Bloglines account, you can search for theinformation you are interested in much as you wouldsearch with a search engine.Bloglines will return a list of sites that you can explore.
Tech Tool: BloglinesSearch the sites, and identify ones that supply RSSfeeds by looking for the orange RSS symbol.Copy and paste the URL into the Bloglines search box.The site will then notify your Bloglines account when anupdate has been made.
Selecting and evaluating a topicAfter you settle on a narrow topic you must evaluateyour topic to make sure that it is suitable for research.Ask these questions:Q: Is the topic narrow enough to be researched effectively?Q: Is the topic objective rather than subjective?Topic: video games’ effect onsocietyA: This topic is both narrow and objective.
Research Tip Subjective topics Subjective topics are usually based onyour personal point of view rather than on establishedfacts. “Video games are fun” is an opinion. “Video games improve intelligence” is objective because it can be demonstrated regardless of someone’s feelings.
Selecting and evaluating a topicQ: Are enough different sources on the topic readilyavailable?A: I’ve located severalbooks, articles, and Websources that haveinformation on videogames, so I know I’vepicked a good topic.Choosing a topic that is very recent or technical maymake it difficult to find appropriate sources.
Tech Tip Using RSSOnce you decide onyour specific topic,enter it as an RSSfeed on a site suchas Bloglines. Youcan follow yourfeeds for days,making it a greatway to find usefulsources on yourtopic.
Developing research questionsWorking with specific research questions will make iteasier to find useful information when you research.Following are some general questions you can use asa guide to formulate specific questions for your topic.General question Specific research questionWhat is the general How have video gamesquestion, and how can influenced Americanyou define it? culture?What are the topic’s How has violence inparts, and how do video games influencedthey work together? American culture?
Developing research questionsGeneral question Specific research questionHow has the topic How has the rapid growthchanged over time? of video game technology affected American culture?
Developing research questionsGeneral question Specific research questionHow is the topic How does the influence ofsimilar to or different video games on Americanfrom related topics? culture compare to the effects of other recent technologies?
Developing research questionsGeneral question Specific research questionWhat are the topic’s What are the positive andadvantages and negative influences of videodisadvantages? games on American culture? vs.
ConclusionFinding your focus is the key to success. Once you’venarrowed down your topic and research questions, thefun can begin!
Talk About ItDiscuss these questions with your classmates.1. In this lesson, the student chose to research video games. What are some other possible research topics that are relevant to teenagers today?2. How can the topics generated in question 1 be narrowed into specific, objective research questions?3. How can you use a Bloglines account to get the most up-to-date information on these questions?4. Have you ever used RSS feeds before? If so, what are some tips you would give others? If not, what are some questions you have about RSS feeds?
Your TurnUse a piece of paper or a computer to follow thesesteps:1. Select a broad subject that interests you.1. Create a concept map to narrow the subject into topics.1. Select a topic from the map and use the questions from this lesson to evaluate it. • Is it narrow? • Is it objective? • Are sources readily available?1. Write three specific research questions that describe exactly what you want to learn.
Your Turn: Possible Responses1. A subject that interests me is India.2. Concept map: climate food customs British INDIA colonization people religions
Your Turn: Possible Responses1. Topic: The impact of British colonization can still be seen in Indian culture today. • This topic is narrow. • It’s objective because it’s not my opinion or personal experience. • I’ve found books and Internet sources on this topic.1. What was British colonization and what did it look like in India? What were the advantages and disadvantages of colonization for Indian culture? How do we see the British influence today?