Developing a Thesis:
Questions to consider while doing your research:
What is the purpose of the assignment?
Ex. What kind of essay are you writing? Persuasive? Argumentative?
What kind of information will you need to find?
Ex. Current? Historical? Scientific study? Surveys?
What types of sources will you need?
Ex. Articles from library databases? Newspapers? Online articles? eBooks? Print?
Ex. Primary sources? Secondary sources? Tertiary sources?
How will you search for them?
Ex. What is your search strategy? How will you revise it, if necessary?
Where will you find these sources?
Ex. Journals and newspapers from library databases? Reports? Government websites?
Why is this topic important?
Why would your readers be interested in this topic?
How will you convince them?
Ex. Are your sources credible? Have you presented both sides of the issue / topic / question?
How does your topic connect to present-day conditions in society?
Ex. Civil Rights movement in the 1960s to Black Lives Matter
Voting Rights Act to voter suppression
Clean Air Act of 1970 to Global Warming
Search Strategies: using keywords, synonyms / related concepts and truncation:
Relevant keywords are necessary for effective research. You can start by taking keywords from your thesis statement or research question.
There are other ways to develop additional keywords.
1. Use synonyms and related concepts:
Think of other words that mean the same or similar things as the words in your question. It can help to brainstorm before you begin your search.
Look at the subject terms in your search results and see if you can use any of those.
2. Use truncation:
You can broaden your search results by typing an asterisk symbol * at end of the root of a word. When you do this, the computer will search for alternative endings for the word you have typed.
For example, typing crim* will yield results for:
Crime, crimes, criminal, criminals, criminology, criminality
Play* will yield results for plays, played, player(s), playing, playful, playfully, playground
3. Create parameters
Limit your topic to a specific time period or geographical region.
Ex. Hunger Insecurity in Africa
4. Refine your topic
Start with a broad topic and narrow it down by thinking of some of the issues associated with it.
Ex. Broad topic: Mental illness
Narrowed topics: personality disorders, exercise addiction, depression, bipolar disorder
Research question: Is borderline personality disorder more prevalent in women than in men?