Northey, M., & McKibbin, J. (2010).

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Subject: Pre-Writing Strategies

Topic: Choosing a Research Topic, Narrowing a Research Topic

Objectives: This learning packet should review:

See the following web handouts for more information about some of the items listed above:

Using, Citing, and Documenting Material from Secondary Sources

The longer a paper, the more challenging it is to ensure that the paper is well organized and unified. Sometimes, the writer will start to drift from idea to idea in the paper, losing focus on the thesis. The following questions may help you ensure that your research paper is well organized.

Developing and Supporting Ideas Effectively

By now, your writing should be free from stylistic weaknesses. Use the following questions to help you determine how strong your research paper is stylistically.

28Sophia partnerscredit transfer.


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In this case, we replaced the words "soil nutrients" with nitrogen and replaced "organic matter" with food waste to make the topic we wish to write about as precise and as specific as possible.

3) Make the sentence as precise and arguable as possible.

2) OK, we've added a few words to make the topic more specific. Now turn the topic into a complete sentence that actually makes a statement.

To choose a general topic, follow the following steps:

In other words, many articles have already been written that describe various aspects of organic matter decomposition, so we must narrow down our chosen topic so that we can focus our research efforts on a more precise question or thesis statement.

1) Choose a topic area. Example: beer

During the first three steps, you chose a topic. For some, this topic may seem like it's ready to be written about, but the level of precision required in the context of academic writing requires writer-researcher to go through a few additional steps.

Teach students the fundamentals by using these quick minilessons.

4. Repeat these three steps three or more times to give yourself a few examples of topics to choose from. When you have a few examples, choose the topic that you feel meets your course requirements, the needs of your intended (or imagined) audience, and/or has the most relevant source material to support it.

Explore a unit of study through these engaging multiweek lessons.

Well, you've been researching for a while now, and you are now ready to settle down on a specific topic. You can do this easily by moving through the following steps. (For the purposes of this learning packet, let say that you are writing on the subject of decomposition.)

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