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 selected stakeholders and analyzing any rhetorical appeals the stakeholders are using to persuade an audience. You may need to fully explore the topic at the center of your selected stakeholder's message- its history, key players, and some of the images used to get the message across. 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 your assignments, you'll have to locate background information about your stakeholders, so you'll have to be sure that there are enough resources out there. 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:
Select a manageable research topic from among a list of given topics
Identify research topics that are too broad in scope, versus those that are too narrow, given a series of examples
Use sample research topics to both expand and narrow the focus
Please complete the following activities:
Watch this video on "Choosing a Manageable Research Topic" from CSU San Bernardino
Complete the activities below on identifying a manageable topic (all links open in new tabs/windows). You'll note that none of these exercises are particularly tricky or challenging, but you'll be surprised how much a silly little practice exercise can help!
Complete the quiz for this module in your Canvas course. This quiz contains seven items in a variety of question formats. You will have 15 minutes to complete the quiz. You may take this quiz twice (highest score retained).