E-LEARN: Brainstorming

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Some helpful hints for completing the first step of successful research -- defining the topic -- from the Evans Library.

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E-LEARN: Brainstorming

  1. 1. Brainstorming1. A sudden bright idea; 2. a harebrained idea
  2. 2. Before you begin your research, write out afew detailed sentences about your topic.Underline the main words in thesesentences.From the description that you wrote,create a list of related keywords andphrases.
  3. 3. Once you have an initial list, think of otherterms that also describe your topic.Write down any ideas you have, even theones that seem harebrained; sometimes theyend up being the most helpful.You should also identify words that havebroader or narrower meanings than youroriginal terms.
  4. 4. Come up with synonyms - other words orphrases that have the same meaning - foryour terms.Dont forget to list alternative spellings,abbreviations, and acronyms for words onyour list.
  5. 5. For example, consider using broader andnarrower terms for “undergraduate.”Brainstorming helps you choose goodsearch terms before you begin.
  6. 6. For example, look at some keywords and phrasesfor this research paper topic:Installing Internet filtering in libraries is censorship. Keywords: Phrases: • Internet • filtering software • Libraries • freedom of speech • Censorship • Internet filtering • filtering/filters • freedom of • Software information • Web
  7. 7. Now its your turn. Well give you a sampletopic so you can practice brainstorming forgood keywords and phrases.
  8. 8. Now, list all the main ideas related to theresearch paper topic below:• Studies of Internet users have concluded that spending too much time online can adversely affect a persons psychological well-being. Some surveys found long hours on the Internet can lead to depression and loneliness.
  9. 9. Heres our complete list:studies well-being effectsstudy addiction depressioninternet surveys lonelinessusers surveyonline effect
  10. 10. For any topic you choose, the ThoughtProcess will help you focus your researchand select appropriate search terms.Once you have determined the keywordsand phrases for your topic, where are yougoing to search?You need to think about SCOPE.

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