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College 1 Research Guide

This guide provides links to many of the resources you'll need to complete your poster assignment.

Topic Ideas: What Are You Curious About?

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The list below includes topics that are connected with Little Nation and Other Stories. You can choose from this list or come up with your own topic from the book or other course texts. Many of these topics will need to be narrowed down significantly in order to work well for your research poster.  

Societal Issues Science & Medical Issues
Gender Roles / Identity Genetic modification / engineering
Xenophobia Bioethics (cloning, "designer" babies)
Homophobia Cancer and regeneration
Feminism / Womanism Language acquisition
Human Rights Issues Memory
Solitary confinement / incarceration Stockholm syndrome
Institutionalization Grief
Medical experimentation Environmentalism / Conservation
Interrogation Endangered species
Mutiny / rebellion Biodiversity
Human Trafficking
Interpersonal Relationships
Group dynamics Interracial Relationships / families
Social hierarchy / social stratification Polyamory / non-monogamous relationships
Leadership Multigenerational households

Search for Information in a Library Database

Exploring & Refining Your Topic

Have a general idea for a topic, but still need to narrow it down? These databases can help you to familiarize yourself with a topic, refine your topic or build a set of search terms to use in other library databases.

From Keywords to Research Question

Search Strategies

1.   Brainstorm keywords, related terms and synonyms. Examples:

  • literacy, writing, reading
  • science fiction, sci fi, fantasy
  • incarceration, confinement, imprisonment

2.   Use AND to focus your search on a smaller result set. Examples:

  •  medical experimentation AND consent
  •  bioethics AND genetic modification AND human

3.  Use OR to link synonyms and gain a larger result set. Examples:

  • bioethics AND (genetic modification OR cloning OR gene editing)
  • interracial AND (relationships OR dating OR marriage)

4.  Put quotations around your terms for exact searches
  Examples: "gene editing"

                            "social stratification"

The keywords you come up with represent the concepts and themes you're exploring. You can incorporate keywords into a research question, and as you explore your topic in more depth, you can turn that question into a hypothesis. You will (hopefully!) answer the question by reading the sources you locate while conducting research, and that eventually becomes your thesis statement. 

Example 1:

  • Keywords: interracial, relationships or dating, science fiction
  • Research Question:  How have issues of interracial relationships been addressed (or ignored) in science fiction?
  • Hypothesis --> Thesis: Science fiction is an effective genre for exploration of issues of interracial relationships.

Example 2:

  • Keywords: bioethics, genetic modification, humans
  • Research Question:  What are the ethical issues surrounding genetic modification in human medicine?
  • Hypothesis --> Thesis: Ethical issues surrounding consent and unintended consequences must be addressed before genetic modification is used for medical purposes in humans.