Creating a Focus Statement

What are you researching?

When I ask the above question, this is the response I usually get:
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Starting & Stopping

At a conference I recently attended, the speaker said students have no difficulty finding information; the biggest problem students have with research is knowing where to START and when to STOP. What are the boundaries of your research?
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Google It!

The first step: READ.

To get some background information on your topic read about it on Google and Wikipedia, in encyclopedia and dictionaries. These resources will allow you to define terminology and discover the main issues surrounding your topic. As well, they will give you a good idea of possible subtopics and a chance to see how much information is actually available.

  1. After your preliminary reading, come up with a list of keywords that you associate with the topic.
  2. Can you answer the following questions about your topic?
  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where

Don't stop there!

You have only finished your pre-research to put your topic in context.

Continue to ask yourself what YOU want to find out about the topic. Develop high order questions. Analyze, predict, synthesize. S-T-R-E-T-C-H your thinking past what is already known.

Use this blank Q chart template to get started.
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Create a Focus Statement

Now is the time to narrow your focus.

  • What interests you about your topic?
  • What do you still want to find out? What should others know about this topic?
  • Is there enough quality information for me to do research?

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You have finished the first steps in the research process. Check out the wheel to see the next step in successful research:
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You're off to the races!

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