Question number two Are you likely to find many sources of information on this topic? You cannot write a research paper without consulting a variety of sources. If only one source or none at all is readily available, you should rethink your topic or choose another.
Question number three: Can you cut the topic down to a manageable size? Be reasonable and realistic about what you can do in a short period, say, two to four weeks. If your topic is “The American Revolution”, you’ll scarcely have time to make a list of books on your subject, let alone read and analyze them. So try to find something specific, such as “The Role of Thomas Jefferson in the American Revolution” or “The Franco-American Alliance”
Question number four: What questions can you ask about the topic itself? Questions help you get the topic down to a manageable size, discover its possibilities, and find the goal of your research, that is, the specific problem you want to investigate. Suppose you want to write about the issue of financing a college education – A topic not only current, but also directly linked to the lives of most college students and their families. You could ask at least two or three pointed questions: How much does educational opportunity depend on financial status? Is financial aid going to the students who need it most? How much should universities and colleges charge their students? You can ask yourself these questions or more as you start work on the research paper.
Okay. To sum up, in today’s lecture, we’ve looked at some of the issues in research paper writing, like the basic steps, types of research paper, and how to choose a topic. In our next lecture, we’ll concentrate on how to identify the audience, how to work out an outline, and how to edit the draft.
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