The Curious Researcher

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Transcript The Curious Researcher

Chapter 1
The Importance of Getting Curious
 Choose a topic you are curious about
This will help to make your essay a success
If you don’t like what you’re writing about, this will most likely
show through into your essay
 Curiosity is a driving force behind your research paper
Choose your research topic carefully
If you have already chosen a topic, and you find yourself
losing interest, try approaching it from a different angle.
 Think Personal Experience
“What have I seen or experienced that raises questions that
research can help answer?”
Interest Inventory
Make a List:
Interest Inventory
 Brainstorm different words or phrases that come to mind
when you think about the different categories
 Write your ideas under each column
 Review your lists
 Look for a single item in any column that seems promising
 Ask:
 Is this something that raises questions that research can help
 Are they potentially interesting questions?
 Does this item get at something I’ve always wondered about?
Meet Amanda
Under her Trends column, Amanda wrote “White Teeth”
 Some questions she developed were:
1. Are tooth whiteners safe?
2. What makes teeth turn brown?
3. Can teeth get too white?
 From these questions, Amanda was able to come up
with a tentative topic and research question.
Other Ways to Find a Topic
For Complete List pg. 28 – 29
Surf the Net
Search a research database
Pay attention to what you’ve read recently
Consider practical topics
Think about issues, ideas, or materials you’ve
encountered in other classes
What Makes a Question
 It’s not too big or too small
 It focuses on some aspect of a topic about which
something has been said
It interests the researcher
Some people have a stake in the answer
It implies an approach or various means of answering
It raises more questions. The answer might not be
 Starting research with a thesis or main point before
starting research is efficient
It sets you on a steady path to finding the information you will
need to find to use as support in your paper
 Beginning with broad questions also has its benefits
By researching without knowing your thesis statement can
help you discover different ideas
Research topics are fluid and can be dictated more by ongoing
research than by the original chosen topic
Working Knowledge
 Develop a working knowledge of your topic
 Working knowledge meaning a broader understanding
of the range of your topic
 Having a working knowledge will help you become
familiar with important aspects of you topic, such as:
1. Definitions
2. Debates
3. Experts
4. Context
Developing Working Knowledge
 Search General and Subject Encyclopaedias
Encyclopedia Britannica
Columbia Encyclopedia
Subject Encyclopaedias (list on page 36)
 Use the Internet Public library
 Try Google Scholar
 Go to the LIBRARY!!
As you are developing your working knowledge, start
compiling a bibliography!
Narrowing the Subject
 Begin your research by narrowing a general topic
 If a topic is too large you will find that the information
available is overwhelming
 You want to create a manageable topic that you can
explore in detail
Narrowing the Subject
 Almost every subject you will choose to write about for
this class and for this paper has been written about
 Try to find a unique angle on a familiar topic
 Take a closer look at some aspect of a larger subject
 Tips to Narrow:
Time – Limit the time frame of your project
Place – Anchor a larger subject to a particular place
Person – Use the particulars of a person to reveal generalities
about a group
Story – Ground a larger story in the specifics of a “smaller” one
Potential Topic: Global Warming
1.Time: Climate Change in the next 50 Years
2. Place: Climate Change in Canada
3. Person: Al Gore
4. Story: Climate Change and
Polar Bears
Narrowing the Subject Cont…
 If you are unsure how to specify what you’re seeking,
ask yourself:
“who?”, “what?”, “where?”, “when?”, “why?”, or “how?”
Crafting Your Research Question
Choose the type of question you want to answer:
 A sense-making question arises when we are
searching for an explanation
 A hypothesis-testing question tests our
assumptions about what we believe to be true
 A relationship-analyzing question has to do with
figuring out cause and effect relationships as well as
Purpose for a Research Assignment
To Explore (a.k.a. Academic Inquiry)
 You pose the research question because you want to
uncover the answer
 You want to write about what you believe is the best
answer to the question you’ve posed
 Exploratory essays often begin with sense-making or
relationship-analyzing questions
Purpose for a Research Assignment
To Argue (State a Convincing Claim)
 You believe you already have the answer to your research
question (i.e. you have a hypothesis you want to test by
looking at the evidence)
 When you are convinced your hypothesis is correct, you
will argue your claim
 Your purpose is to state a central claim and make it
convincing in order to influence what your readers think
Reading for Research
The best readers are guided by purpose:
They know why they are reading something and
what they hope to get from it
When reading for research you should:
1. Know what type of text you are reading
2. Know where to look for what you need to know
3. Gain prior knowledge of the topic you are reading
Reading Rhetorically
wat up? how r u doin 2day? wanna meet at the
mall l8r? c u in a bit lol   
Structural symbolic interactionism
understands the creation of self and identity
to occur within existing social structures
 There are fundamental differences between these types of
texts, and how we read them should be different too.
Reading Rhetorically
Reading strategies:
 Have a working knowledge
 Know your purpose
 Understand the article’s
 Use a highlighter
 Make notes in the margins
 Read and Reread
Example in Text
To see an example of how to focus your paper, look at
page 44 in your text
When writing your research paper, remember:
For next week:
 Remember that there will be a quiz next week
 Make sure that you have a copy of the handout for the
Theater Review
Theater Review
Must contain two full pages of good writing
Must contain research about the author and the play