Thursday, February 13, 2014

Getting Started with Research

We're going to be spending much of this semester working on different research-based writing assignments. The first research-based assignments coming up will be two casual write-ups in response to two health-related articles that you find online.

But before you think about research-related writing, it might be useful if we talk about choosing your research topics. Just as a note: If you decide on one research topic to work on this whole semester, or even several research topics that are closely-related, you'll make your work for the rest of the semester easier and more efficient, especially as you gather material toward your final research paper.

Here's a link to a handout about choosing research topics:
This handout contains a mix of advice both from me and from professors I've learned from. Let's read through it and talk about what we can make of it.

Next, here's a link to a handout that accompanied a library resource presentation from a few years ago:
This handout contains links for well-known health-related institutions and the resources they make available to doctors, scientists, and any other interested readers. On your own computer, try to open some of these links and see where they can lead you in starting to research the topic(s) you're considering for this semester.

***And here's a casual blog post assignment: In a new blog post on your group blog, please write a paragraph about your attempts to find information on the sources in the above handout. Compare your results to what you found on Tuesday using the library databases (or any previous experience you've had using a school library and its online databases). Even if these sources seem useless to you, please write about that and explain why you think they were useless.

Finally, here's a link to a former student essay -- a personal narrative, not a research essay:
If we'll have time, we'll read through this essay; if not, please take a look at this essay on your own. Can you see what topics the student who wrote this essay might be interested in writing about? Can you start to think about how this student might start to search for related articles on these topics?

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