Creating Your Research Question
For your Final Paper in this course, you will create an annotated bibliography on a topic within your major field of study. This week, you will begin the research process by defining an information need, selecting a topic, and forming a research quesotion for your Final Paper. Choose an interesting topic from an area related to your major or a career that you would like to explore. For instance, if you are majoring in education, you might select a topic related to Common Core State Standards or adaptive technologies for special education classrooms. If you are studying healthcare administration, you may want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act. These options are only examples meant to guide you. The Possible Topics for Research document contains additional research topics you may wish to choose from.
As you will learn after watching the video, Picking Your Topic IS Research (transcript), and from reading Module 1 of your textbook, defining your research topic and gathering sources is a multi-step process. Parts 1 and 2 of this assignment reflect these steps. Watch the video below for more information to help you understand this process. Once you have watched the video, carefully follow the process below.
Part 1: Create a Concept Map
Write down ideas you are considering for your topic and begin organizing them (a process called “brainstorming”). Explore the Wikipedia entry Concept Map and then create your own. During your brainstorming, use the websites bubble.us, Mindmeister, or another concept mapping tool of your choice to help organize and connect ideas. Look at the Text 2 Mind Map – Vegetarianism. This is an example of a concept map on the topic of vegetarianism, a topic you will see as an example throughout the course. Notice the main topic in the center (i.e., vegetarianism), subtopics surrounding it (health benefits, moral reasons, history, economic and environmental benefits), and issues or subdivisions for each subtopic.
When creating your own concept map, critically think about your topic. Ask yourself, for example, what you already know about your topic and what else you would like to learn about it.
In your concept map
- Include a main topic.
- List everything you can think of about your topic as well as what you discover while doing background research.
- Include at least three subtopics that relate to your main topic from your list that relate to your main topic.
- Include three to four subdivisions for each subtopic (as in the example).
- Refine your concept map by further considering the relationships between the items on your map. Add any connections between topics that you may have missed, and remove others that no longer seem to fit.
Throughout the process of creating your map, conduct the background research described in the GEN 103 – Week One: Creating your Research Question video (transcript) to verify you selected a strong research topic.
Once you are finished with your concept map, the mapping tool that you chose to use will allow you to save a link to your map. Include this link with Part 2 of this assignment when submitting it through the online classroom.
Part 2: Creating Your Research Question Worksheet
Now it’s time to form your research question. The question you develop should follow a specific trail: topic, subtopic, issue or problem, and question. Complete the Creating Your Research Question Worksheet to create your research question and to reflect on the process. Save this document to your computer in an easy-to-find location. To complete the document, develop at least three focused research questions that are open-ended and address an issue or solve a problem. Select one question to use for your Final Paper. Explain the process of doing background research and developing a research question. Save your changes as you go. You can use one of the subtopics and a related issue you identified in Part 1. Conducting background research and creating the concept map in Part 1 will help you significantly with this process.
Need help downloading the Creating Your Research Question Worksheet to your computer so that you can complete this assignment? Watch Downloading a Document.
View the Creating Your Research Question Worksheet Example to guide you as you complete this assignment.
Once you have completed both Part 1 and Part 2, submit the completed Creating Your Research Question Worksheet through the online classroom Assignment Submission button. Be sure that you have included the link to your concept map in the worksheet before submitting.