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Choosing a Topic and Developing Research Questions

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1 Choosing a Topic and Developing Research Questions
Introduction Selecting and evaluating a topic Developing research questions Talk About It Your Turn Tech Tools in this presentation RSS Bloglines

2 Introduction You’ve been assigned a research paper, and you’ve chosen a subject that’s interesting to you. How do you figure out what part of your subject to research? There are so many possibilities! You need to focus. Narrow your subject to a specific topic that is suitable for research.

3 Introduction One way to break a broad subject into separate topics is to use a mind map. popularity gaming systems cultural influence VIDEO GAMES production design technology

4 Selecting and evaluating a topic
The Internet can be a valuable tool when you’re looking for the most up-to-date information on your topic. However, it’s very important to make sure the information you find online is current. How do we know this information is current?

5 Tech Tool: RSS RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) keeps you up to date on new Web content. It displays a headline on your desktop whenever a Web site to which you have subscribed is updated. You can use RSS to gather information on topics that you are considering for your research. Instead of you finding updates, the updates find you!

6 Tech Tool: RSS One way to view your RSS feeds—information about the sites to which you have subscribed—is to use a feed reader. A feed reader will manage your feeds in the same way that an account manages messages. Like s, the information you are researching is delivered automatically to your reader as it is updated.

7 Tech Tool: Bloglines To set up an RSS feed, go to a feed reader such as Bloglines. Bloglines is a free site that helps you locate items of interest in blogs, Web sites, and more by using an RSS feed. Video games Cultural influences Technology Gaming systems Use the ideas generated from your research to create keywords, and then search for those keywords with Bloglines.

8 Tech Tool: Bloglines With a Bloglines account, you can search for the information you are interested in much as you would search with a search engine. Bloglines will return a list of sites that you can explore.

9 Tech Tool: Bloglines Search the sites, and identify ones that supply RSS feeds by looking for the orange RSS symbol. Copy and paste the URL into the Bloglines search box. The site will then notify your Bloglines account when an update has been made.

10 Selecting and evaluating a topic
After you settle on a narrow topic you must evaluate your topic to make sure that it is suitable for research. Ask these questions: Q: Is the topic narrow enough to be researched effectively? Q: Is the topic objective rather than subjective? Topic: video games’ effect on society A: This topic is both narrow and objective.

11 Research Tip Subjective topics
Subjective topics are usually based on your personal point of view rather than on established facts. “Video games are fun” is an opinion. “Video games improve intelligence” is objective because it can be demonstrated regardless of someone’s feelings.

12 Selecting and evaluating a topic
Q: Are enough different sources on the topic readily available? A: I’ve located several books, articles, and Web sources that have information on video games, so I know I’ve picked a good topic. Choosing a topic that is very recent or technical may make it difficult to find appropriate sources.

13 Tech Tip Using RSS Once you decide on your specific topic, enter it as an RSS feed on a site such as Bloglines. You can follow your feeds for days, making it a great way to find useful sources on your topic.

14 Developing research questions
Working with specific research questions will make it easier to find useful information when you research. Following are some general questions you can use as a guide to formulate specific questions for your topic. General question Specific research question What is the general question, and how can you define it? How have video games influenced American culture? What are the topic’s parts, and how do they work together? How has violence in video games influenced American culture?

15 Developing research questions
General question Specific research question How has the topic changed over time? How has the rapid growth of video game technology affected American culture?

16 Developing research questions
General question Specific research question How is the topic similar to or different from related topics? How does the influence of video games on American culture compare to the effects of other recent technologies?

17 Developing research questions
General question Specific research question What are the topic’s advantages and disadvantages? What are the positive and negative influences of video games on American culture? vs.

18 Conclusion Finding your focus is the key to success. Once you’ve narrowed down your topic and research questions, the fun can begin!

19 Talk About It Discuss these questions with your classmates.
In this lesson, the student chose to research video games. What are some other possible research topics that are relevant to teenagers today? 2. How can the topics generated in question 1 be narrowed into specific, objective research questions? 3. How can you use a Bloglines account to get the most up-to-date information on these questions? 4. Have you ever used RSS feeds before? If so, what are some tips you would give others? If not, what are some questions you have about RSS feeds?

20 Your Turn Use a piece of paper or a computer to follow these steps:
Select a broad subject that interests you. Create a concept map to narrow the subject into topics. Select a topic from the map and use the questions from this lesson to evaluate it. Is it narrow? Is it objective? Are sources readily available? Write three specific research questions that describe exactly what you want to learn.

21 Your Turn: Possible Responses
1. A subject that interests me is India. 2. Concept map: religions British colonization customs INDIA climate food people

22 Your Turn: Possible Responses
Topic: The impact of British colonization can still be seen in Indian culture today. This topic is narrow. It’s objective because it’s not my opinion or personal experience. I’ve found books and Internet sources on this topic. What was British colonization and what did it look like in India? What were the advantages and disadvantages of colonization for Indian culture? How do we see the British influence today?

23 The End

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