A research project is more than collecting data and explaining what you've read. A college-level research project or paper has five general goals (Turabian ch. 2):
Watch the video below for an explanation for why a research question will help to guide your research.
Research is not research until you have focused it a round a solid research question that addresses a problem or issue (Badke ch. 2). Go through this Prezi to learn how to identify a good research question.
Here are a few tips to help you find a topic that is appropriate for your class assignment.
How do you find an interesting topic? READ! LISTEN!
Ask yourself the following questions about your topic to make sure you've picked a topic that will keep both yourself and your audience engaged. If you can answer yes to all the questions, you're ready to create a research question so you can search for information. Source
The perfect topic for a college-level research paper will require you as the researcher to evaluate and reflect about the issues revolving around this topic. It will require your readers also to reflect and think deeper about his or her previous assumptions about the topic. Here is a basic topic:
This is a good start, but needs to be developed. You as a researcher should not be attempting to write an encyclopedia article, and this topic will not require any evaluation.
Here is a better topic:
Now we can take this topic to the next level and develop it into a research question.
A concept map (sometimes called knowledge maps or mind maps) is a great way to organize your research topic and brainstorm keywords for searching. It's also a good way to visually lay out how the different parts of your topic fit together.
The main idea (your topic) is at the center of the concept map, with the subpoints and keywords surrounding it.
Use lines and arrows to show connections between the various aspects of your topic.
Since most topics/research questions usually have multiple aspects, create a separate "bubble" for each one, then brainstorm synonyms or alternate keywords.
The following are some online tools that will allow you create a concept map for your topic:
We all search for information probably almost everyday. Without thinking too hard about it, we ask a question and find an answer (or find out there is no answer). Sometimes these questions even lead to more questions. This is the normal research process, and students sometimes get frustrated writing research papers because they do not understand how normal and common the whole process is.
Turning your research topic into a research question will provide you with a reason to search for information.
You would want to pick one research question on which to focus your paper or research project. Sometimes it is necessary to learn more about your topic to create a good research question. Encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia are great for background information. The reference databases Credo and Gale Virtual Reference Library are also great choices.
is a good place to research a topic as you develop it into a research questions. One search wil locate print books, ebooks, journal articles, digital items, and more - all related to your topic. SmartSearch is a product from EBSCOhost, but the tool searches all of the Unveristy Libraries' subscription content. For a link to Smartsearch as well as information on how to use this search engine, go to http://libraries.wichita.edu/smartsearch.