Most research starts off by finding a topic that interests you most.
Want to find a good topic for your research?
Concepts and Keywords
Once you have determined your topic, you will need to develop the question or questions that your research will try to answer. One of the best ways to identify potential research questions is to identify concepts or keywords pertaining to your topic. These keywords will guide you to develop a search strategy.
Key steps to follow while developing your topic:
Below is an example of a concept map for the topic, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Note how research questions can emerge from your concept map.
Some of the research questions that might arise from this concept map include:
a. How has robotic technology enhanced ROV designs?
b. What are the applications of ROVs?
c. Which ROV design has the best maneuverability?
Concept mapping or "clustering" "is a spatial technique that generates associations and seeks connections among them. You begin by writing a work or phrase in the middle of a blank page and circling it. As associations occur to you, you write them down and circle them, connecting them by a line to the work/phrase that gave rise to the association. As you continue this process beyond the first words/phrases surrounding the original word/phrase, you will develop larger clusters in some places than in other. The well-developed clusters may suggest the most promising ways to develop your topic" Henderson, Eric. (2012) The active reader: Strategies for academic reading and writing (2nd ed.) Don Mills, Canada: Oxford, p 73.
Choosing Keywords to narrow or broaden your topic
If your topic is too broad, you may want to narrow it topic by identifying keywords that will limit your search by Age, Sex, Gender, Geographic Information, etc. If your topic is too narrow however, you may want to use broader headings and generalize them.
For example: What is the environmental impact of the disposal of plastic bottles?
Thanks to LMU/LA for content: http://libguides.lmu.edu/c.php?g=419920&p=2864276
Tips on searching:
Use AND to :
In the following example, the database will search for "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles" AND maneuverability. The oval in red represents the result set for this search.
Use OR to:
In the following example, the database will search for all three concepts and the result set is all three circles in purple.
Use NOT to:
In the following example, the database will exclude all instances of the word Unmanned Underwater Vehicle.
Evaluating search results:
It is important to evaluate the information you search and find. One way to evaluate your resources is to use a reliable test like the CRAAP test, that quickly allows to answer a few questions.
Currency: The timeliness of the information
Relevance:The importance of the information for your needs
Authority: The source of the information.
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
Purpose:The reason the information exists
A citation, or reference, is the quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing of someone else's work, used as a basis for your own ideas and research.