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Assignment | Poli Sci Field Essay (Khatri): Topic Development

GOVT 2304 | Professor Khatri (Fall 2023)

First Steps

Picking a Topic IS Research

When you're starting your research, you need to have a balance between brainstorming and looking for external sources.

On the one hand, you want to be able to feel out what you already know and explore what you think sounds like an interesting idea.

On the other hand, you want to make sure you're not going too far in the wrong direction while you're still at the starting line.

News feeds can be a useful resource for brainstorming a topic for research. After you explore Credo Reference mind mapping and articles (below), see New York Times - RSS on the next tab.

It can be tempting to think you'll save time by diving right in, but taking the time to do your background research will help in the long run! Benefits include:

  • CONTEXT! You can't really speak coherently about the impact of the automobile on society if you aren't also aware of what the horse-drawn carriage society was like, what the state of manufacturing was like, the purchasing power of the auto's target demographic, and so on.
  • You learn the JARGON. Scholarly articles are written by experts, for experts. They don't usually take the time to remind their readers what a term or process means, since the assumption is the readers already know. This can also present a barrier to finding those articles, as well. What's a non-expert to do? You've got to learn to speak the language of the field.
  • IDEA DEVELOPMENT! Let your research help you do research. As you're learning about the context and picking up on new terminology, you'll also be noticing key people, places, and events that relate to your topic... all of which will help you delve into your deeper research more effectively.

Related Resources

New York Times - Politics

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Background Information

After you identify your general topic, find and read articles in subject-specific encyclopedias. This background information will be your foundation for your deeper research.

Credo Reference is a good resource for this. The mind map tool will help you discover related concepts, topics, and people of note.