Be aware that selecting a good topic may not be easy.
It must be narrow and focused enough to be interesting, yet broad enough to find adequate information. Before selecting your topic, make sure you know what your final project should look like. Each class or instructor will likely require a different format or style of research project. Write down any key words or concepts that may be of interest to you. Could these terms help be used to form a more focused research topic?
Be aware of overused ideas when deciding a topic. You may wish to avoid topics such as, abortion, gun control, teen pregnancy, or suicide unless you feel you have a unique approach to the topic. Ask the instructor for ideas if you feel you are stuck or need additional guidance. Notice that both online encyclopedias provide links to magazine articles and Web sites.
These are listed in the left or the right margins. A topic will be very difficult to research if it is too broad or narrow. One way to narrow a broad topic such as "the environment" is to limit your topic. Some common ways to limit a topic are:. Example: What environmental issues are most important in the Southwestern United States. Example: What are the most prominent environmental issues of the last 10 years?
Example: How does environmental awareness effect business practices today? Example: What sources of pollution affect the Genesee County water supply? Example: How can the environment contribute to the culture, politics and society of the Western states? It is common to modify your topic during the research process. You can never be sure of what you may find.
How to Write a Response Paper
You may find too much and need to narrow your focus, or too little and need to broaden your focus. This is a normal part of the research process. When researching, you may not wish to change your topic, but you may decide that some other aspect of the topic is more interesting or manageable. Keep in mind the assigned length of the research paper, project, bibliography or other research assignment. Be aware of the depth of coverage needed and the due date. These important factors may help you decide how much and when you will modify your topic.
How to Construct an Essay
Descriptions of the method may include the design, procedures, the sample and any instruments that will be used. The main purpose of the introduction is to provide the necessary background or context for your research problem. How to frame the research problem is perhaps the biggest problem in proposal writing. If the research problem is framed in the context of a general, rambling literature review, then the research question may appear trivial and uninteresting.
However, if the same question is placed in the context of a very focused and current research area, its significance will become evident. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules on how to frame your research question just as there is no prescription on how to write an interesting and informative opening paragraph. A lot depends on your creativity, your ability to think clearly and the depth of your understanding of problem areas.
However, try to place your research question in the context of either a current "hot" area, or an older area that remains viable. Secondly, you need to provide a brief but appropriate historical backdrop. Thirdly, provide the contemporary context in which your proposed research question occupies the central stage.
Finally, identify "key players" and refer to the most relevant and representative publications. In short, try to paint your research question in broad brushes and at the same time bring out its significance. The introduction typically begins with a general statement of the problem area, with a focus on a specific research problem, to be followed by the rational or justification for the proposed study. The introduction generally covers the following elements:. Sometimes the literature review is incorporated into the introduction section.
However, most professors prefer a separate section, which allows a more thorough review of the literature. Most students' literature reviews suffer from the following problems:. Your scholarship and research competence will be questioned if any of the above applies to your proposal. There are different ways to organize your literature review.
Make use of subheadings to bring order and coherence to your review. For example, having established the importance of your research area and its current state of development, you may devote several subsections on related issues as: theoretical models, measuring instruments, cross-cultural and gender differences, etc.
It is also helpful to keep in mind that you are telling a story to an audience. Try to tell it in a stimulating and engaging manner. Do not bore them, because it may lead to rejection of your worthy proposal.
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Remember: Professors and scientists are human beings too. The Method section is very important because it tells your Research Committee how you plan to tackle your research problem. It will provide your work plan and describe the activities necessary for the completion of your project. The guiding principle for writing the Method section is that it should contain sufficient information for the reader to determine whether methodology is sound. Some even argue that a good proposal should contain sufficient details for another qualified researcher to implement the study.
You need to demonstrate your knowledge of alternative methods and make the case that your approach is the most appropriate and most valid way to address your research question. Please note that your research question may be best answered by qualitative research. However, since most mainstream psychologists are still biased against qualitative research, especially the phenomenological variety, you may need to justify your qualitative method.
Furthermore, since there are no well-established and widely accepted canons in qualitative analysis, your method section needs to be more elaborate than what is required for traditional quantitative research.
More importantly, the data collection process in qualitative research has a far greater impact on the results as compared to quantitative research. That is another reason for greater care in describing how you will collect and analyze your data. How to write the Method section for qualitative research is a topic for another paper.
For quantitative studies, the method section typically consists of the following sections:. Obviously you do not have results at the proposal stage. Keep your focus narrow and avoid the kitchen sink approach. You know, the one where you throw in every bit of interesting research you uncovered, including the fungal growth in the U-joint of your kitchen sink?
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Everything you learn may be fascinating, but not all of it is going to be relevant to your paper. Need more help? Grammarly can save you from misspellings, grammatical and punctuation mistakes, and other writing issues on all your favorite websites.
Define your topic
Your writing, at its best. Be the best writer in the office. Get Grammarly Here are the best elements to a research paper:. Craft a strong opening sentence that will engage the reader. Explain the purpose of your paper and how you plan to approach the topic. Is this a factual report?
An analysis? A persuasive piece? Conclude the introductory paragraph with your thesis statement. The introduction is the broad beginning of the paper that answers three important questions:.