This Step does not have a # because it takes place at every step of the process.
You begin with a Project in your NoodleTools account, record your Research Question and Thesis Statement, create Note Cards, and Record your sources as you find them.
|First, use your own ideas. It should be your paper and your ideas that should be the focus.|
|Use the ideas of others sparingly--only to support or reinforce your own argument.|
|When taking notes, include complete citation information for each item you use.|
|Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words.|
|is to take 30 minutes and write a short draft of your paper without using any notes. It will help you think through what you want to say and not be too dependent on your sources.|
This step can be most difficult. Your teacher may give you the freedom to choose whatever you would like to write about as long as it interests you and you are able to investigate, detail, and argue a particular position. Or you have to answer an assessment question. Or you have to choose within a certain field.
Performing a Google search is likely to overwhelm you with the immense number of results returned to you. Since current events or controversial issues provide many ideas for investigation and argument, there are a few resources that your librarians and teachers can guide you to for thought-provoking topics.
Pay attention to news stories on radio, television, and items that hit your news feed online
Check out Opposing Viewpoints in Context and Global Issues in Context for ideas
You need a topic with enough information to research, but it is not too broad
Ask another teacher about some ideas you might have
This is an excellent point to chat with a librarian to help you settle into a good direction for a manageable topic
Use the Pre-Search Worksheet on this page> to organize your research
After you have done some background research, you are more prepared to develop informed research questions that will not overwhelm you when you try to answer them. Keep in mind, though, that your questions may not, actually should not, have direct answers. Critical reading of what you find will present you with possibilities, and you may make logical jumps in reasoning to answer the question, using support from sources that you find. Sometimes, as you read more, your research question may change.
Click image below for full analysis of different types of resources. Great Infographic. Portland Community College.
Steps #6 and #7 are repeatable as often as necessary.
The further we go in our academic careers, the more detailed and complex our research questions become. By the time someone becomes a graduate student and works on a dissertation, these two steps can be repeated endless times. You will, with experience, determine how many passes through Steps #6 and #7 are appropriate for your research needs.
This is another good time to set up appointments with your teacher, supervisor, and librarian.
Step #10: Reflect
The OWL (Online Writing Lab) Answers all MLA Questions! Scroll down for specific sections...
Brainstorm Your Topic
Starting your research with a quick brainstorm session is a good idea because it will help you identify:
keywords to search in the library catalog and databases
synonyms and alternative words for your topic
specific ideas or questions you may want to address, that you haven’t yet considered
Questions to ask while brainstorming: Write in answers as short phrases or words
WHO are the important / influential people (artists, designers, critics, writers, philosophers etc.) involved with my topic? This could also be a group or organization rather than an individual. Who is the audience or end user?
WHAT are some examples of this topic? A work of art, building, film, product, service, etc.? What is it made of, what does it look like, what style is it? What are the creator’s aims, goals or concerns?
WHEN – what time period(s) are appropriate to this topic? Has it been around for a long time, or is it new? How did it originate? If it is historical, what are the important milestone dates in its history?
WHERE – is it tied to a specific country, state, city or geographic area? Has it been relocated to multiple places and if so, where? What is the importance of place to my topic?
HOW has this topic/idea/work influenced others? How does it relate to the larger culture or context?
WHY is this topic/idea important –to others, and to me?
ONE additional question I have about my topic, or something I would like to learn more about:
Information sources to use: You may need to do some background reading to answer the questions above. It’s ok to start with the basics! Bear in mind you will not END your search here – you still need to use the library catalog and databases to complete your research.
The Internet is a tremendous resource for finding information, but you need to use it critically and with care. One important thing to be aware of is that unlike resources found in a library in printed form, those found on the internet may not have been through a review or editing process.
When researching online you should:
|Desirable source attribute||Questions to consider in order to determine this|
|Reliability and credibility||
Adapted from "Introduction; Academic honesty, Acknowledge the work or ideas of another person", from Extended Essay Guide, International Baccalaureate Organization, 2016.