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Copy of Curious Researcher: Chapter 1

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autumn brackley

on 16 September 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Curious Researcher: Chapter 1

Chapter 1: The First Week
Curiosity must be the driving force behind a research paper.
Choose your research topic carefully, considering your interests as top choices.
•Ask the question: “What have I seen or experienced that raises questions that research can help answer?”
Getting the Pot Boiling
Topics may come to mind immediately or they may be stumbled upon.
•One topic may trigger another.
Other Ways to Find a Topic
Surf the Net
Search an index

•Online indexes are on FSU’s Library Web site
Browse Wikipedia
•(But don’t use as a source for your actual paper)
Consider essays you’ve already written
Pay attention to what you’ve read recently
Consider practical topics
Look close to home

What Is a Good Topic?
Begin with a good question, not an easy answer
A good topic constitutes finding the right question (preferably one that’s interesting to you)
Checklist for your tentative topic

•Does it raise questions I’d love to learn the answers to? Does it raise a lot of them?
•Do I feel strongly about it? Do I already have some ideas about the topic that I’d like to explore?
•Can I find authoritative information to answer my questions? Does the topic offer the possibility of interviews? An informal survey? Internet research?
•Will it be an intellectual challenge? Will it force me to reflect on what I think?
•Are a lot of people researching this topic or a similar one? Will I struggle to find sources in the library because other students have them?

Making the Most of an Assigned Topic
The Importance of Getting Curious
Examine an assigned topic through difference viewpoints:
•People: Who?
•Trends: What and Why?
•Controversies: What and Why?
•Impact: What, How, and Why?
•Relationships: Who, How, and Why?

Approach the topic with an open mind
Developing a Working Knowledge
It is okay to change your mind or topic during the beginning stage of your research
Develop a working knowledge of your topic

“The ability to talk about it for one minute without repeating yourself”
This will help you find a focus point
Helps you to understand how your topic fits into the context of other subjects
Helps you to understand some of the areas of controversy, debate, questions, or unresolved problems that ripple through expert conversation about your topic

Research Strategies
Work from generalized information to more specialized information
Wikipedia is considered an unreliable source because anyone can authorize the information published
Visit your libraries reference room and ask the reference librarians for help

Narrowing the Subject
Circling the Lighthouse
Since almost every subject you’ll write on has been written about before, try to find a new angle on the topic to see and help other see what hasn’t been seen before (AKA focusing)
From Landscape Shots to Close-Ups
•The college research essay requires you to narrow your boundaries of a topic as much as possible
•See your topic in as many ways as you can
•To find your focus, find your questions
•Connect your topic to something else, explore the relationship between them, and thus you can narrow your focus
Possible Purposes for a Research Assignment
After finding a research question, take time to think of which of the following purposes are implied by your question
To explore
To argue
To analyze

Learning to Wonder Again
To read rhetorically, choose certain reading strategies that are the most effective in certain situations and for certain purposes and applying them
Reading Rhetorically
You’ll find that you need a different strategy for a piece of implicit literature than for an explicit research article
Reading Like an Outsider
By being aware of how you do things, you can have more control over them
You are reading to collect information as well as reading to find support for ideas, to create a context for a question, and to complicate or extend thinking
Research essays involve reading from unfamiliar areas which can make reading difficult
The purpose of the research paper is to explore, argue, and analyze, rather than to just report
The audience is the expert and the writer is the explorer
Learn the organizing principles of articles
Read with a pen in hand

Recap on Reading Strategies for Research Writers
First develop a working knowledge
Let your own purposed guide: example, context, challenge
Anticipate your own resistance
Learn the organizing principles of articles
Read with a pen in your hand
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