Would you believe that the selection of research topic is probably the most important step in completing a successful research assignment? In fact, the topic you select could be the deciding factor in your ultimate success or failure in writing-intensive courses like the ones you're taking now. The ability to define a good, manageable topic is an important skill that a lot of students don't really think about. Why is it so important?
Well, for one thing, you'll be spending a lot of time learning about your topic- its history, key players, and its impact on society just to name a few areas. If you're not passionate or at least really interested in your topic, you'll tire of it quickly and you won't feel motivated to learn about it and research it. But you also have to consider the scope of your topic.
For the first assignment, you'll be creating an annotated bibliography, so you'll have to be sure that there are enough resources out there for you to obtain at least six published within the time period your instructor has specified (2000 - 2014). But be careful of resource overload! That's not good either. Learning to find that sweet spot; the convergence of personal interest with the balance between information overload and information scarcity is the key to success.
If all that has scared you into thinking that you'll never be able to locate the sources you need and get a good grade, don't worry! This module is going to help explain how to easily and effectively explore background information on a topic, and apply some simple questions and criteria that will help you achieve a manageable focus for your research.
After completing this module, you should be able to:
Please complete the following activities: