Selecting a Topic
Topics that interest you will be topics that you don't mind working on. Your enthusiasm for the topic will carry through to your writing and you will have a better paper. Nothing is more boring than an assigned topic. There is no buy in from you and it will show up in the execution of the paper.
Below is an annotated organizer which will guide you through the first steps toward research.
As in any research project, there must be a question to answer. A question will focus your thinking. What is it that you need to know the answer to. The question must be directly related to your BROAD TOPIC. This is the CONTROLLING QUESTION and it must be broad enough so that it can't be answered with a "yes" or a "no" or a quick trip to the encyclopedia or other general reference source. It will require some thinking and some research to arrive at the answer.
It can't be answered with a yes or no and the information will not be included in a short encyclopedia article.
The CONTROLLING QUESTION will have several small questions that will have to be answered before you can come up the big answer. These Secondary Questions will be the major sections of your paper so they also require more than "yes" or "no." There should also be at least three questions that you need answers for. If there aren't you may have to go back to the CONTROLLING QUESTION and re-write it.
Each of the Secondary Questions will have smaller questions that will need to be answered. These are the CHARACTERISTICS and they center around details. There should be a MINIMUM of three characteristics (More is better)
Finally, you will need to do some preliminary research. Make sure you keep notes about references which relate to all of your secondary questions:
This page was last updated on 04/08/04.