Choosing a research topic is the most important step in the research process and takes more time and consideration than many students realize. Keep the following tips in mind when you are starting your research assignment:
1. Understand the requirements of the assignment.
2. Think about your interests and determine how you can connect them with the assignment.
3. Identify about 3 potential topics you would be willing to spend time researching and writing about.
4. Do some initial research on each of the three topics to learn more about them and see how much information is available to you. At this stage, it is okay to use reference-type sources (general books, content encyclopedias, Wikipedia, etc.) as you are getting an overview at this point. These are not sources that you will end up citing in your paper.
5. Select a topic. You may use one of your original three topics or perhaps another one that you came across while doing your pre-searching. Check with your professor for feedback and approval before moving forward with more in-depth research in scholarly materials.
There are different steps you can take to make your search for resources as efficient and effective as possible.
1. Identify the key words in your topic and brainstorm a list of synonyms to increase your chances of finding relevant information.
2. Use the different field boxes in the search tools to maximize finding information (title, keyword, etc.)
3. Use different characters:
4. Use the limiters in the database
"A great place to get help developing your writing skills is the University Writing Center. The Writing Center is an academic resource available to all members of the SUA community and to writers of all levels. Its primary mission is to develop communicative skills, engage students in dialogical thinking, and provide writing instruction in alignment with American academic standards. Writing Specialists, who hold professional degrees and are experienced instructors, assist students to become self-reliant and critical learners, thinkers, readers, listeners, and writers. Writing Specialists work with students in 20-minute one-on-one tutorials and also in group workshops tailored for specific purposes. To schedule an appointment with a Writing Specialist or to sign up for a workshop, please visit the Online Scheduler or simply visit the Writing Center.
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