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SOC4850: Senior Seminar: Your Research Topic

Choosing a Topic

Choosing a Topic*

1.  Begin by considering the major area of research that you want to explore.  For instance, technology and society.

2.  Next, think about a phenomenon you've observed or would like to explore further, such as cell phone use and their effect on interpersonal relationships. *  This should be more specific and can become the basis of your major research question (How has cell phone usage impacted interpersonal relationships?)

* Not sure? You may need to do some preliminary research first!

3.  Identify any sub-questions that are important to answer, such as:

  • How do dating apps influence romantic relationships?
  • Does texting negatively impact friendships?

4.  Be sure to review the assignment guidelines and always ask your professor for feedback before changing a topic mid-semester.  Your professor is the ultimate resource in this step of the process.

Your Topic

Tips for Choosing a Topic

Every great research paper starts with a good topic, but it's not always so easy to come up with one.

In other classes, you may have been given a topcic to explore... but for Senior Seminar, it will be up to you to choose a topic to pursue and a research question to answer.

While you should always work within the scope of the assignment and consult with your professor, these tips can help you find a topic that works for you:

  • Start with something that interests you
  • Identify keywords in the topic area
  • Find out what's already been written about the topic
  • Find an area that hasn't been extensively researched (where you can add to the literature)
  • Develop your research question or thesis statement
  • Come up with a search strategy for finding the information you need!