Hello dear readers. In this post on solsarin we are going to talk about one tool for narrowing your topic . Stay with us to the end. Thanks!
Finding and Narrowing Your Topic
Picking a Topic
Before you begin searching for articles, it helps to have a topic in mind. Start broad and brainstorm. Ask yourself:
- What am I interested in?
- What have I heard in the news?
- What’s something that affects me personally?
It is important to pick a topic that is relevant to you personally, not just one that you think you will be able to find a lot of information on. There is information out there on every topic (the trick is finding the right key words, and we’ll address that in Finding Articles), so don’t worry about being able to find articles. Remember, you’re going to be spending quite a bit of time with this topic, so pick one that you’re going to enjoy writing about.
Gather Background Information
Now that you’ve picked a topic, it’s time to evaluate what you need to know about it in order to gather research.
Keep these questions in mind as you search for basic information on your topic. Visit the sites below to get started:
- Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context and Gale Virtual Reference Library house a wealth of knowledge, spanning hundreds of online encyclopedias, almanacs, and other reference sources that present basic knowledge from many angles.
- Google and Wikipedia are other good sources to find basic information, as long as you make sure to validate the information and links.
Read more posts if you are interested:
- how much alcohol is in budweiser nitro reserve gold
- what percent alcohol is coors light beer
- does nitrogen conduct electricity
- how much alcohol is in smirnoff ice green apple
- what percent of alcohol is in heineken beer
Finding/Creating a Claim
For most papers and projects, it is not enough to present lists of facts and figures. Instead, you will need to present an opinion or argument that is backed by academic literature and research. Essentially, you need to make a claim that can be argued for and against.
Where to find information:
- Opposing Viewpoints in Context (Gale) is a great source for finding pro and con arguments on hundreds of social issues.
- CQ Researcher is a good source for topics in the news this week (and included an archive of past topics).
- News sources can also provide great information on the basics of a topic and what the current issues are.
Use these sources and others to decide what stance you are going to take on your topic. Remember when picking an topic that it needs to be something people disagree about. If your opinion is something that your intended audience is naturally going to agree with unanimously, you may want to reconsider the direction you take the paper. The best papers present something new, whether it is a new argument, a new way of looking at a certain situation, new methods to address an issue, etc. Whatever your topic might be, make it your own!
Narrowing Your Topic
Now it is time to put all of the background information you’ve gathered together to give you a solid foundation for your research. You may find the following table helpful in organizing your data. Keep in mind that this is NOT your thesis statement, just a tool to narrow your research. If you can fill out this table, you most likely have a narrow enough topic with enough direction for some great research.
1) I am researching ______________________________________ (topic)
2) because I want to find out ______________________________(issue/question)
3) in order to ________________________________ (application – So What? – Project/Audience/Purpose driven)
I am researching speech impairments in children (topic)
because I want to find out if an older sibling with a speech problem effects a younger sibling (issue/question)
in order to convince my principal the need for family therapy (application – audience).
I am researching ethanol as an alternative fuel (topic)
because I want to find out the pros and cons of its use and formulate my opinion (issue/question)
in order to persuade my readers that my position is correct (application – audience).
I am researching ways to teach English as a second language (topic)
because I want to find out the most effective strategies available (issue/question)
in order to prepare me to be a better teacher (application – purpose).
I am researching autism in children (topic)
because I want to find out how best to socially interact with them (issue/question)
in order to better accomplish my service learning experience. (application – project).