In this chapter, you learned strategies for generating and narrowing a topic for a research paper. Review the following list of five general topics. Use freewriting and preliminary research to narrow three of these topics to manageable size for a five- to seven-page research paper. Save your list of topics in a print or electronic file, and add to it periodically as you identify additional areas of interest.
- Illegal immigration in the United States
- Bias in the media
- The role of religion in educational systems
- The possibility of life in outer space
- Modern-day slavery around the world
Working with one of the topics you have identified, use the research skills you learned in this chapter to locate three to five potentially useful print or electronic sources of information about the topic. Create a list that includes the following:
- One subject-specific periodicals database likely to include relevant articles on your topic
- Two articles about your topic written for an educated general audience
- At least one article about your topic written for an audience with specialized knowledge
Organize your list of resources into primary and secondary sources. What makes them such? Pick one primary source and one secondary source and write a sentence or two summarizing the information that they provide. Then answer these questions:
- What type of primary source did you choose? Who wrote it, and why? Do you think this source provides accurate information, or is it biased in some way?
- Where did the information in the secondary source come from? Was the author citing an initial study, piece of literature, or work of art? Where could you find the primary source?