1. Select a general topic that interests you in some way.
2. List key words to help you look up information about the topic.
3. Go to an encyclopedia, or other reference source, to get an overview of the topic.
4. Make source cards for whatever sources you will use for information.
5. Using the general overview, begin to focus the topic into something youcan cover well.
6. Write a statement of purpose about the focused topic.
7. Brainstorm questions about the focused topic.
8. Group questions under similar headings.
9. Add any new questions you can think of under those headings.
10. Repeat step 2, listing more key words from your newly focused topic and questions.
11. Make a list of possible sources that can answer your questions. Identifythe best sources to use.
12. Find the sources in the library, on the computer, etc. Make a source card for each one you use.
13. Begin making notecards. Use your brain stormed questions to guide your note taking.
14. Change your statement of purpose into a draft thesis statement.
15. Make an outline of your headings.
16. Refocus your thesis statement if necessary.
17. Write the body of yourpaper from your notes.
18. Cite any necessary information with parenthetical citations.
19. Write your introduction and conclusion.
20. Write your Works Cited (it is similar to a bibliography).
21. Create a title page.
22. Evaluate your work.
23. Turn in your paper on time.
Selecting A Research Topic
Tip Sheet 1
Ask these questions:
How do I do it?
There are three ways for you toget a topic to research:
1. Your teacher assigns one to you.
In this case, you don't have to worry about selecting a topic; just start listing key words.
2. Your teacher gives you some guidelines for choosing one.
Here's where you have to do some reading on the general topic and get an overview. After doing that, you will be ready to focus your topic into a reasonable size that you can handlefor this project.
3. Your teacher gives you complete freedom to choose whatever topic you want.
This can be a challenge, but also a lot of fun! Pick something that interests you and learn more about it.
In any case, pick a topic that interests you in some way. Otherwise it will be boring and torture to get through.
Listing Key Words
Tip Sheet 2
Ask these questions:
What is it?
It ismaking a list of the words that will help you find the information you need about your research topic. They are called "key words" because they can "unlock" the doors that will lead you to useful information.
When will I use them?
You will use them when searching through books (using indexes) and through electronic sources (using search screens in online reference sources or search tools suchas search engines or directories).
Why do I need to do it?
If you have good key words, you'll find the kind of information you want faster. If you don't have good key words, you can waste a lot of time not finding the information you need.
What are "good key words"?
Good key words are the important words or short phrases that specifically describe your topic and closely related topics.They are not long sentences.
When do I list them?
Start as soon as you have a general topic. You will be able to add more key words to your list as you focus and learn more about your topic.
How do I list them?
1. First, write one or two sentences about your topic.
2. Next, underline all of the specific words that describe your topic.
3. Make a separate list of these specific words.4. Add to your list any other words that mean the same thing (synonyms) or are related terms.
5. Think of more words or phrases that describe the larger topic, of which your topic is a part. Add those to the list.
6. Think of more words or phrases that are subtopics of your topic which might help you find you useful information. Add those to the list.
Now you should have a pretty long list of...