Published on February 4, 2014
G ILL LIBR A RY THE COLLEGE OF NEW ROCHELLE RESEARCH AND INFORMATION LITERACY ENG 216 A SESSION 2 Finding and Refining Your Topic in Literature and Social Sciences Drafting a Thesis/ Research Proposal
CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC What interests you • Something in the news? • A personal or professional experience • Something you have always wanted to know more about Approach that topic from a scholarly perspective
For example: “Norman…while watching news reports of the Iraq War, noticed dry and barren land, yet history had taught him that this land between the Tigress and the Euphrates rivers was formerly a land of fruit and honey….What happened to it? Norman’s interest = world’s water supply Excerpted from Lester and Lester. Writing Research Papers. Page 10
Browsing in National Geographic Norman finds an article http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/05/0518_crescent_2.html The following is excerpted from the link above. He learns: Satellite technology shows: Over the last 40 years more than 30 + large dams have been built that reduce available water and eliminate nourishing floodwaters Resulting in damage to the marshlands and devastation to wildlife And reducing the water supply to the residents
He also learns that: Before satellites assessing environmental damage depended upon each government’s “willingness and ability to investigate conditions in their country.” Satellite technology now allows a clearer and more accessible picture on environmental damage. Norman’s question has expanded to include many considerations
POSSIBLE SCHOLARLY APPROACHES 1) the ethics the world’s distribution of water 2) the history of the global water shortage 3) environmental implications of the global water crisis 4) social implications of the global water crisis 5) the politics of assessing environmental damage
YOUR TURN Pick a topic based related to the Social Sciences • Personal interest • Recent News • Conversations in person or through a social network • A subject covered in another class • Something you have always wanted to know about
CONCEPT MAPPING Session 2 Video on Concept Mapping
EXERCISE ON CONCEPT MAPPING SEE HANDOUT
USE TOOLS TO FIND AND DEVELOP IDEAS Encore Red Box on Library Homepage Classic Catalog Subject Search Online Subject Directory Online Discussion Groups: Humanities and Social Sciences Net Online Internet Keyword Search
THE THESIS STATEMENT
A THESIS: • Is a short statement summarizing the primary idea of your paper • Consists of one or two sentences • Appears at the start of your paper, usually the last sentence in your introductory paragraph • Is developed, supported, and explained in the text by means of examples and evidence. • Is a roadmap for your readers! • It gives your paper organization and clarity
Types of Theses covered in LTCA • • • • Argumentative Essay (Persuasive) Cause and Effect Essay (Explanatory) Comparison and Contrast Essay (Analytical) Literary Research Paper (Research) • What does your assignment require of you: • Persuasion, analysis, reflection, research, make a claim
HOW TO CREATE A THESIS Determine: • • • • The type of paper you are required to create Your topic and related subjects Your position, claim, opinion All relevant points to support your claim http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sx42_C10zw
Let’s look at the Argumentative Essay
ARGUMENTATIVE OR PERSUASIVE ESSAY “An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim… something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on.” • Not debatable: Pollution is bad for the environment Vs • Debatable: America’s anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some ..might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy. • Don’t avoid the opposite opinions… Be prepared for them so you can make your paper stronger!” Excerpted from The Owl at Purdue (read more)
KEEP IT NARROW Your argument should be specific • Too Broad: Drug Use is Detrimental for Society • Narrower, more specific: Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence.
REMEMBER Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
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