Topic Selection


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Things to consider when selecting a topic for a research paper.

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Topic Selection

  1. 1. Topic Selection
  2. 2. In this lesson we discuss selecting a research topic and beginning the research process. The objective is to have you organize your thoughts in order to make the process easier. Writing a college research paper is complex. Approaching the process in a logical manner makes for an excellent learning experience. Organizing from the outset saves you time and increases the quality of results.
  3. 3. Thinking It Through If you have the option of selecting to choose your own topic, make it is a subject that interests you. Satisfying your curiosity makes the work much more enjoyable and you may already know a great deal about the topic.
  4. 4. Adequate Resources When selecting your topic you should ask if there are adequate resources available to you in order to develop the topic? Check with a librarian to see if the resources you need are available through the library. The librarian can help you locate materials whether in the library or from other libraries using interlibrary loan.
  5. 5. How soon is the paper due? Adequate Time Finding the right materials takes time. Reading your research takes time. Writing the paper takes time. When selecting a topic make sure that you can manage your time to do the research, acquire information and the properly compose your paper.
  6. 6. Is your theme too broad or too narrow? Finding the right balance between broad and narrow topic selection takes thought. This can be difficult. You might start with one topic and find there’s not enough time or resources to explore it properly. Be flexible enough to broaden or narrow your research to meet class deadlines.
  7. 7. Broad View Thinking broadly is great for many things. In the process of developing a research topic this is not the case. It’s best to be precise about the subject you want to explore.
  8. 8. Let’s Look at the Abraham Lincoln Assignment.
  9. 9. Test yourself to see what you already know about the Abraham Lincoln. Create a list of words that you feel are relevant to your research interest. Organize.
  10. 10. Narrow the Topic The more you can focus your thoughts the easier the research will be. Look at Lincoln’s speeches. The topics in Lincoln’s speeches reflect the history that surrounded him. Early speeches dealt with topics of secession, states rights and slavery. Later speeches had similar subject matter but they were given during the Civil War when the nation was deeply divided.
  11. 11. Be Specific. Focus on one of Lincoln’s speeches. Your topic can be narrowed down to a specific speech, the Gettysburg Address for instance, with its influences and effects. Look closely at those influences and effects. Look for specific reasons for the speech. Look for specific effects the speech had on individuals or the country.
  12. 12. Three Questions Frame the topic as a series of questions. 1. Why? 2. When? 3. How? Why did Lincoln give this speech? When did he give this speech? How was the speech received? Your questions can help you in focusing your search for information.
  13. 13. Remember the Audience Focus your ideas with your audience in mind (read professor). Remember that all your research will be used to build an argument or defend a position on the topic. The results of your research should enforce your ideas. It may, also, indicate that you need a change of opinion. Either way, your ideas about the research are important!
  14. 14. It’s your ideas that mean the most to your professor. Your ideas supported by the results of your research.
  15. 15. Ask Questions! You are writing about this topic for a reason. It's either your own interest or something your professor feels that you should know. Focus your thoughts by determining what you want to learn from the research.
  16. 16. It’s your education, make the most of it. Ask yourself, “What do I want to know about this topic?” Your education is all about you.
  17. 17. What outcomes do you want from this research? Yes you want an A+. However, this is about a learning experience. The process of researching a topic should change your perspective about that topic.
  18. 18. Next we’ll begin to look at the materials used for academic research. Answering the question, “What sources are available for your research?” Do the student activity for this lesson. After that proceed to the next lesson. Revised Wednesday, February 4, 2015