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Before you Begin: Know the Assignment
- What type of a research assignment is this? An annotated bibliography, literature review, or research paper?
- What question are you trying to answer, or what topic are you hoping to explore?
- Is there more than one part to the assignment?
- How many resources are required?
- What types of resources are required?
- Are there any other requirements--like that articles are based on empirical research--to consider?
- When is the assignment due?
- What is your thesis? Unless you are writing a creative paper, you should have a thesis that you are trying to support.
- What are the keywordsin your thesis statement or in the question you are trying to answer? These will become your search terms.
- Example Thesis: "Some racial groups are more at risk than others for developing alcohol addiction."
- Example Keywords: "Racial groups, alcohol addiction"
- Brainstorm additional search terms by finding words with similar meanings.
- Example 1, Keyword "racial groups": race (general), African Americans (narrower), Native Americans (narrower)
- Example 2, Keyword "alcohol addiction": substance abuse (general), alcoholism
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