Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What's your topic? Put your thoughts into words.

It seems like the hardest part of doing research is just getting started.  Finding a good topic and then narrowing it down or focusing it, and then actually putting  into words what  you want your research to discover or prove or provoke isn't as easy as it sounds.  Then, once you have your research question or thesis statement, what do you do with it?  You need search terms, not sentences to do academic research.

Search terms, not sentences for academic research

Here is a really good tool to help nail all of that down. Print it out.  Check off the search terms from the concept lists as you use them so that you don't end up doing the same work twice.
For help with finding synonyms, mine keywords from class readings or background resources you've already looked at. Look especially for words that uniquely describe the topic.  As you begin to find articles, look at the subject descriptors and abstracts for more key words, and check the bibliographies for sources cited.  

Good luck with your research!