Lecture topic: The research process part two:
planning the library trip, whether it is a physical trip or a virtual visit
- You have already decided on your
topic by submitting a research proposal.
- You may change your topic anytime
before the annotated bibliography is turned in by
submitting a new proposal to me.
- Change topics as many times as
needed, but you must always submit a new proposal.
- You would change topics because
you might find out that your research has led to a dead end. This is
common and you should not be concerned that I will think you are
- Because having to change topics
is quite common, you should begin your research early. The sooner you find
out if your topic is researchable, the better your final grade will be.
- You do not want to pursue a topic
over which little scholarship has been written,
nor do you want a topic if OSU holdings are sparse.
- Begin with a broad sweep.
- If your topic has something to do
with bison, then brainstorm keywords about the topic and the argument. For
example: bison; conservation; buffalo, etc.
- Do a search using different
keywords and determine how many articles and books are available on the
- Research is a time-consuming
process, and although switching topics is sometimes necessary, it also wastes valuable time.
- Once you have determined that you
have a solid topic to research it is time to pull articles and mine their
- The bibliography pages of a book
or article are gold mines of resources.
- If an article you have pulled
speaks to your topic, then chances are that the author cites articles that
speak to your topic as well.
- Read the titles of articles on
the bibliography page and decide which ones seem relevant to your topic.
- Search for them and see if they
- Those articles too have
bibliographies, and so on, and so on . . .
- Also, pay attention to the names
of the authors. If you are seeing the same names on the bibliography pages
of different articles, then you have discovered who
the heavy hitters are.
- The heavy hitters are the
scholars who are widely recognized as experts on your topic.
- Once you know the heavy hitters
then do a search for articles by that author.
- Print that list and search OSU
availability for those articles.
- Do not be too heavy-handed about
including heavy hitters. One or two articles are enough because you want
to make certain that your research demonstrates diversity.
Diversity of Research:
- Make sure you present opposing
- Not all scholars agree, or there
would be no debate.
- Try and
include one or two scholars who disagree with you, then refute their
argument with your own argument and with the arguments of scholars in your
- It is important to collect
sources with opposing views because it will make easier your essay 4 at
the end of the semester, which is worth much of your final course grade.
it all together:
- Remember that if you need, for
example, 10 sources, then you should start with at least 15.
- Doing so allows you to choose the
best articles in terms of the scholarship, and in terms of how well they
relate to your own argument.
- Use current research.
- The best research demonstrates an
awareness of the current conversation among scholars.
- While a 10 year
old article may be very informative, it is also true that since
that time the debate has taken new directions.
- The best procedure is to stay
with articles no more than three to five years old.
- Use a broad sweep.
- Discover the heavy hitters.
- Diversity of
- Use current research.
- Work smart by