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Title: WTUC

Chapter 2 Finding a TopicLecture
notesbased on Lester Lester, JR. 2007.
Writing Research Papers a complete guide
  • WTUC

Finding a Topic
  • Narrow a general subject to a scholarly topic
  • Reflect on your personal experiences and
    knowledge (frame of reference)
  • Examine one narrowed issue
  • Have a serious purpose- one that demands analysis
    of the issues, argues from a position, and
    explains complex details
  • Conform to the course requirements

Generating Ideas
  • Free Writing
  • Listing Keywords
  • Outlining
  • Clustering
  • Narrowing by comparison
  • Asking questions
  • Journalism questions/ 5Ws

Exercise Restricting the Subject
  • Relate to at least 2-3 personal experiences
  • Working teenagers
  • Dance
  • Violence in the schools
  • Health care
  • Sports

Exercise Narrow Focus of Research Topic
  • Movie ratings
  • Womens rights
  • Rap music lyrics

Writing Research Questions
  • Raising questions about the subject can provide
    clear boundaries for the paper
  • General questions examine terminology, issues,
    causes, etc. See sample on page 17
  • Rhetorical Questions
  • Comparison How does a state lottery compare with
    horse racing?
  • Definition What is lottery in legal terms? In
    religious terms?
  • Cause/effect (see p. 17)
  • Process How are winnings distributed?

Asking questions
  • Framing questions according to academic
  • Economics Does sports gambling benefit a
    college's athletic budget? Does it benefit the
    national economy?
  • Psychology What is the effect of gambling on the
    mental attitude of the college athlete who knows
    huge sums hang in the balance on his or her
  • History Does gambling on sporting events have
    identifiable tradition?
  • Sociology What compulsion in human nature
    prompts people to gamble on the prowess of an
    athletic or team?

Acceptable? Too broad? Opinionated
  • Living with aids
  • Too broad
  • Religious bias in selected nursery rhymes
  • Acceptable
  • Pollution levels in the Kaohsiung area
  • acceptable
  • Immunization
  • Too broad
  • Country music is for hicks!
  • Opinionated
  • Abortion is murder
  • Too sensational

Topics in Marketing
More topics here
  • http//www.rockresearch.com/hottopics.php
  • http//gatorball.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/top-10-r
    esearch-topics-for-education/ (Education)
  • http//www.socialpsychology.org/social.htm
    (social psychology)
  • http//www.cpl.org/Research/PopularTopics/Employme
    nt.aspx (employment)

Formulating Research Questions
  • Once you have focused your topic so that it has
    an appropriate scope for your assignment, time
    frame, and length requirements, you need to
    formulate a research question(s). To do so,
    determine the most important questions that you
    want to ask and answer.Consider for example
    these possible research questions developed from
    the broad subject area of bilingual education
    Should bilingual education be extended to
    monolingual children? What teaching methods
    work best in bilingual classrooms? For what
    reasons do people send (or not send) their
    children to bilingual schools? Are children who
    are placed in bilingual programs more successful
    in later grades than those in English-only
    programs?A research question will give you a
    sense of direction. Frequently as you do your
    research and take notes, you will have in mind a
    tentative response to your question.

Assignment 1
  • On your wiki, create a page called research
  • On that page, you write down at least 5 possible
    general topics that interest you
  • Out of the 5 topics, narrow them to 1-2 topics
  • Google your chosen topic and see what sub-topics
  • Localize your topic. Can your topic be applied in
    local context? If so, how?

Thesis Sentence, Enthymeme, or Hypothesis
  • A thesis sentences advances a conclusion the
    writer will defend
  • An enthymeme uses a because clause to make a
    claim the writer will defend
  • A hypothesis is a theory that must be tested in
    the lab, in the literature, and/or by field
    research to prove its validity

Thesis sentence samples
  • Chat rooms and online matching services enable
    people to meet only after a prearranged
    engagement by email.

Focusing agent
A good working thesis
  • A Good Working Thesis, p. 16, Keys for Writers a
    Handbook, Ann Raimes, 2nd Edition, US Houghton
    Mifflin (1999)narrows your topic to a single
    main idea that you want to communicate
  • asserts your position clearly and firmly in a
    sentence that makes a claim about a topic
  • states not simply a fact but an opinion
  • makes a generalization that can be supported by
    details, facts, and examples within the assigned
    limtations of time and space
  • stimulates the curiousity and interest in readers
    and prompts them to thing, "Why do you say that?"
    and read on.

  • A strong, thought-provoking, or controversial
  • Bilingual education has not fulfilled its early
  • A call to action
  • All inner-city schools should set up bilingual
  • A question that will be answered in the essay
  • What can bilingual education accomplish for a
    child? It can lead to academic and personal
  • A preview or reflections of the structure of the
  • Bilingual education suffers from two main
    problems a shortgae of trained teachers and lack
    of parental involvement.

  • Hyperactive children need medication because
    ADHD is a medical disorder, not a behavioral

Stated reason support the claim
  • Theoretical hypothesis
  • Discrimination against young women in the
    classroom, known as shortchanging, harms the
    women academically, socially, and psychologically.

Student will produce a theoretical study by
citing literature on shortchanging.
  • Class size affects the number of written
    assignments by writing instructors.
  • Claims one variable changes, so does another
  • It could be tested, examined, and correlate class
    size and assignments
  • Requires field research

Assignment 2
  • Now, look at your topic, or if you have already
    written your thesis statement, look at it again
    and compare it with the guidelines above. Does it
    meet the guidelines? Should you edit it and make
    it better?
  • Create a page on your wiki (Thesis Statement),
    and post your working thesis statement there
  • Make sure to add LINKS to your SIDEBAR
  • Use the name of the page when you create LINKS
    (you can do this by dragging the name of the page
    to where you want it located on the page.)

  • Research questions and thesis statement must be
    in by 9/24/2013
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