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Introduction to Research: Getting started

BRAINSTORMING A TOPIC

What do you already know about the topic?

Who cares about your topic? 

  • Who cares about your will help you figure out what type of research they do. (scientists will perform experiments, doctors may run a randomized controlled trial, a professor might write a literature review, etc)
  • Once you figure the type of resources someone who cares about your topic would create, you can then determine where you will find these resources. (scholarly articles can be found in databases, news articles can be found online, etc)

How is your topic portrayed in the media?

  • Is this a hot-button issue that folks have very differing opinions about?
  • Has your topic been unfairly criticized or wrongly portrayed in the media?

Who has access to information about your topic?

  • How do everyday folks know about it? Are they getting their information solely based on mass media?
  • Misinformation and fake news are symptoms of a lack of access to quality information. (Think of this as an information desert)

What gaps have you noticed in the research? What's missing? Who's missing?

  • This is where your research question can start. How can you address the gap?

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GATHERING BACKGROUND INFORMATION

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Oftentimes it is hard to be engaged with a topic if we don't know much about it. Gathering background information is essential to helping us situate our feelings, thoughts, and opinions on the spectrum of conversation. The following databases will not only provide general background information but give you both sides of the story.

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