The first step of the research process is to pick a topic, but that can be difficult if you are not sure what you want to write about. After watching the video, pick a topic that meets assignment requirements and interests you, then try to narrow your focus using the Five Ws.
Do you already know a lot about your topic?
If you know a lot about your topic already, you can narrow your focus using the Five Ws:
Go to the Research Question page to learn more.
If you do not know a lot about your topic already, that's okay. This page will help you do background research to help answer these questions.
Narrow your interest and decide what question your paper will answer. It seems counterintuitive, but a narrow topic is actually easier to research than a broad one.
Which cybersecurity measures are most essential for a small business with a limited budget?
Once you answer the 5 Ws, we can finally put together a great research question, but make sure that it passes this final test.
A good research question is...
Only answer one main research question in your paper. It seems counterintuitive, but a narrow topic is actually easier to research than a broad one. Instead of mentioning many ideas briefly, focus on just a few points and develop them well.
Consider the assignment an opportunity to learn more about something that interests you. Research is easier and more enjoyable when you pick a topic that interests you.
Good research tackles new, unusual topics. Instead of "marijuana legalization", try "How should states use tax revenue generated by legalized marijuana?"
Use keywords to search for books and articles.
To get keywords, think about the main ideas of your topic.
For example: Which cybersecurity measures are most essential for a small business with a limited budget?
Remember, computers will search for every word that you type into the
search box, so try to keep your search simple - just a few words.
Now, let's take each of the main ideas and come up with some synonyms or related ideas:
cybersecurity -- data security, network security
small business -- business owner, entrepreneur
budget -- cost, financials
Do this with your topic, and you will have some keywords to begin your search with!
Next, combine any one of the keywords from each group using AND.
1. cybersecurity AND small business
2. data encryption AND entrepreneur
Different combinations of search terms will give you very different results, so you may want to try several different search strategies to see which gives you the best results.