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RES104: Introduction to Research Writing: Additional Research Process Resources

Tips for the entire research writing process

Calvin Does Research

Try out these brainstorming strategies: 1.	Freewriting – Set a timer for 10 minutes.  Think about your topic for a little while and then while your timer runs, write down everything that comes to mind, without worrying about spelling, grammar or structure. Look back over your writing and highlight useful ideas, questions, or insights. 2.	Concept Mapping – Concept maps help you visually organize ideas and make connections. Start by writing your broad topic in the center of a black piece of paper.  Write out related ideas and detail around the central topic. Use lines and arrows to draw connections between ideas.  Add details, sub topics, and questions, as you continue to build your web.  3.	Asking questions – One a black piece of paper, write out the words who, what, when, where, why, and how. For each word, write 2-3 questions beginning with that word. This is a helpful strategy when you don’t have much prior knowledge on your topic.  You can use the questions you wrote to get started finding sources. 4.	Listing – What words pop into your head when you think about your topic? This activity is similar to freewriting, but instead of writing a paragraph, you will instead write a list of words and phrases. Write down as many words or phrases as possible. Your list could include synonyms, places, people, related topics, descriptors, facts, numbers, or whatever else you can think of. Then look over your list and check for patterns or ways to categorize those thoughts.

Narrowing down a topic

How to narrow your topic to something doable

You can't write a 5-7 page paper on the entire Civil War or the history of China. But just how narrow do you have to get? And how do you get there? Check out this guide to help you get where you need to be.