SMS Research Manual 2011-2012 posted by V. Farmer, R. Kahler
S 1 elect and Limit Your Topic
A good researcher can select a specific topic appropriate to the assignment.
How do you select a topic?
Choosing an appropriate topic
How do you select and limit your topic?
Read your assignment thoroughly and ask questions to clarify what you do not understand.
Selecting a Topic
Steps for selecting your topic
Generate ideas. (Refer to the following page “Getting Ideas”. )
Do preliminary research by reading an overview of the topic in an encyclopedia, biography, or specialized text or on the internet.
Steps for limiting your topic:
Ask yourself questions that help you think critically. Start with the 5 W’s: Who? What? Why? When? and Where? If those questions do not help you narrow your topic sufficiently, proceed to the next step.
Ask the analytical questions: How did this come to be? What are the causes? What are the results? What happens next? How does this compare? How does this contrast? What is the value? These questions will help you think through your topic. Then let your mind make connections.
Questions to ask yourself about your topic:
Is my topic interesting to me?
Is there enough information on my topic?
Will I be able to complete my research project in the time given?
Selecting a Topic etting Ideas
First, make sure you are thoroughly familiar with the material you will be writing about and with the instructions for the assignment. Then experiment with the following techniques to see which one works best for you. Different people have different styles of working.
Brainstorming: Make a list of everything you can think of that relates to your topic. When you finish, decide which parts of your list you want to use as main points, which parts you want to use as supporting details, and which parts you do not want to use.
Guided Freewriting: Get out a few sheets of paper and set a timer for five minutes. During those five minutes, write down everything you can think of that relates to your topic. Keep writing the whole time—do not pause to think. When your five minutes is up, look back over what you have written and choose which ideas you will use in your essay. Then arrange and develop these ideas as you start creating your project.
Mapping: Draw a “map” or “web” of your ideas. Draw a circle around the topic in the middle of the page, then put things that are more specific in circles connected to that one, then put things that are even more specific in circles connected to those circles. (See the example below.)
Idea Diagram: Make a copy of the form for an idea diagram on the following page. Fill in the spaces with your ideas for an introduction, subtopics, details, and conclusion.
H The Greeks
Realism in sculpture
Man can participate in gov’t
Man can reason
Man can think critically
Medicine ow did Greek culture stress the importance of the individual?