Writing Prompt. This week, you will begin to develop your topic with preliminary database research. The assignment is to write at least one paragraph that explains what your research paper is about. This is not just the general topic, but also specifically what you will be discussing about the general topic.
Now that you have selected a topic, and it has been approved, it is time to narrow the focus of your topic.
Database Research. I have included revised BCC library instructions below. At this point, you do not, however, have to limit your database search to CQ Researcher. You can use the wide range of available databases. Of particular usefulness, however, are EBSCOHost and JSTOR.
Searching databases for research sources is time consuming. There is no shortcut. Prepare to spend at least one hour per research session.
The BBC Library.
- Once you have selected a topic, go to the library page on the college web site.
- Once there, on the left-hand column at the top of the page, click on “Library.’
- On the right-hand side of the page, click on “OneSearch” and then the black “Search” button below.
- On the next screen, under “Library Links,” click on “Databases.”
- In the “A-Z Databases,” chose the databases that you will be using in the session, including, among others, CQ Researcher, EBSCOHost, and JSTOR.
Moving from a General Topic to a Specific Focus. Search your topic to see what aspect you might want to be the focus for your research paper. For instance, for the topic of climate change, you might want to research the economic effect, the environmental effect, or climate change and fossil fuels.
The Summary. When you find articles that seem to be relevant, open them and read the abstract. The abstract is a summary of what the article is about. It usually also gives keyworks. From the abstract, you will learn whether or not this article will be of use to you in your research paper. When you find articles that you plan to use, bookmark them or print them out. You will need this information for documentation later in the process.
Below are sample formats for your summary. You can use them if you choose as a guide for your own summary, or you can write your summary as you wish, making sure that you give your general topic, how you are making it specific, and what resources you hope to use:
Sample Summary 1
The general topic for my research paper is the role of federal courts in the United States. I will be discussing and analyzing the effects of the federal courts during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. I will be using the BCC databases to access research sources, including books, journal and magazine articles, and relevant court decisions.
Sample Summary 2
The general topic for my research is women’s health issues. I will be discussing whether or not there is a disparity in the quality and availability in health care services for women of color in the United States. I will be using the BCC databases to access research sources, including medical journals, magazine and newspaper articles as well as other relevant sources.
Sample Summary 3
The general topic for my research is education. I will be discussing the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of antibullying initiatives in U.S. public schools. I will be using the BCC databases to access research sources, including education and social sciences journals, magazine and newspaper articles as well as other relevant sources.
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