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Capstone Research (Middletown): Pick Topic

Develop Your Topic

Research Topic:
Research Question (Problem To Solve, Issue to investigate):

Ask:  Which audience are you trying to persuade?  What evidence will it take?
Which organizations care about this issue? What data and studies have they published or identified?

DANGER ZONE:  Is your question too big, too broad?  
Are you merely reporting or describing rather than investigating to solve an issue or problem?  Go deeper; cover less content. Propose solutions. Make connections and meaning.

Revise Your Search: Try different terms, combine terms, and apply limiters. Persevere in searching. Narrow your search: limit by a sub-topic, date range, geography, age, gender, peer-reviewed

Background Research

Research is exploring, discovering, investigating.  Research is NOT having the answer at the beginning.  Problem-based inquiry is a thoughtful, iterative process.  As you learn more, you circle back.  Refocus your research question.    

It's okay to start with Wikipedia for facts and and general understanding.  See how a topic is subdivided.  Then continue.  Connect what you learn from your background research with your prior knowledge. Brainstorm.  Ask:  What do I think I know?  What do I wonder?  Why...?  How...? Write a single research question to investigate.

Use Keywords from your background research for Search:

PRE-SEARCH - Find out before you decoding ona topic. Save time. Avoid frustration.
How much has been published on the topic?
Who are the leaders/experts in this field?
Context: Locate alternative viewpoints or national solutions  What is working; what isn’t?



Oxford Research Encyclopedias

Oxford Very Short Introductions

Opposing Viewpoints in Context: Many source types

CQ Researcher Online: 1 Lengthy Report


Books & More (Books, eBooks, DVDs, Government)

Articles & More (80 EBSCO databases in one search)  


Mind Map: visualize possible subtopics in your research

Go Beyond Online News. Use Scholarly Sources.