Thursday, 30 April 2015

Not another research paper! Part 1A

1. Topic/Research Question
2. Pre-search
3. Research
4. Outline
5. Research
6. Fill-in-the-blanks
7. Edit

{Relax, I know that research is listed twice, it's not a mistake.}

But, first off is the topic!  Your teacher probably gave you a pretty broad topic to start off with.  This is NOT going to be the subject of your paper.  Usually instructors give wide ideas to give you the freedom to focus on something about that topic that interests you.  And I'll give you your first hint in writing a good paper.

Are you ready?

If you are interested in what you're writing about, your teacher will be too.

Interest and enthusiasm are tangible in your writing and the person who is reading it will notice.  If you like what you're writing about, you tend to focus on the more interesting aspects and your teacher will appreciate that.  Here's your second hint:

You are writing one (1!) paper but your teacher is grading... how many?  Have pity on your instructor and write something in-depth and interesting to save them from the humdrum of grading dry, boring, painful papers.

So, back to the topic at hand... the topic!

I like to think of the topic that a teacher gives as a cloud.  It's big, fluffy, nebulous, and doesn't have much shape.  But when the raindrops form and the lightning strikes, then you've got something to work with!

Behold--some examples:

This is the cloud idea I am talking about. Ideas and topics don't stand alone, there are a lot of related subjects.  But here is something more specific.

Just with one topic a teacher might give you, there are lots and LOTS of other things that fall under it or are related.  So, how are you going to narrow it down?  Find something you find the most intriguing or that you know the most about.  Then use that to narrow it down and let inspiration strike!
Not interested in laws or government?  Or decide you don't know enough about it?  Change your mind!

So many choices and you are in charge!

OK, I don't want to overwhelm.  We'll finish this section in another post.  Because it's not enough just to talk about a subject, that's just a summary and we're way beyond that level at this point.  You need to actually get down into the research level by asking:

The Research Question

Bum buh buuuummmm (portentous music)

To Be Continued...

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