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SPA 452C The Spanish American Short Story

Study Like a Scholar, Scholar

Starting Your Research

Choosing a research topic and formulating a Research Question

 
Take time to develop a research question that you will be interested in exploring. Research is fun when you want to know more about the topic, so start with a broad question and then narrow the focus.

You can then conduct a review of the literature by reading articles on your topic from the library databases. Talk to your professor to gain a clear understanding of the assignment(s). Your research question can be developed as your research unfolds and you gain a broader perspective from other points of view.

As you start your research project, it is important to plan ahead and start your research early and ask for help before the project gets overwhelming. Ask a librarian for research assistance and when writing your paper use the writing tutors services online. You can also ask other classmates questions using the discussion board. Don’t wait until it is too late. If you have a question, it is likely that others in your class have a similar question.

 

Keyword Searching in Database

How to decide which keywords to use when searching the article databases-

 

Identify the key concepts about your topic:

  • Think of words to express your topic.
  • Consider alternative words.
  • Think about the words the author may use.

Example: I want to research whether advertising effects childrens food choices.

Keywords: food, advertising, children

  • Combine your concepts with AND to narrow your search.
  • Combine your concepts with OR to broaden your search.

Boolean search; "and" narrows search; "or" broadens search

food AND advertising AND children

This type of search returns fewer and more specific results

 

food OR advertising OR children

This type of search returns many results

 

If you have trouble finding articles, you can brainstorm alternate words for your concepts. Consider synonyms, alternative spellings, variant endings (e.g., health, healthy, healthier, etc.) and acronyms.

Food Advertising Children


Frozen Food    

Commercials Families
Beverages Computers in advertising Age groups
Convenience foods Cartoons Gender