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Course & Subject Guides

Research Process Demystified @ Pitt

A guide for students beginning the research paper and project process.

 

Create a Research Question: Come up with a tentative question you want to answer in your project.

Creating a research question will take your refined topic and turn it into a question your assignment will attempt to answer. Examples of research questions include:

  • What causes incorrect information to spread on social media?
  • How can we be informed social media users?

This will help keep you focused as you begin searching for information

 

Develop a Search Strategy: Select your resources and develop your keywords

The search terms or keywords you use to search are what determine the results you get.  Here's a good exercise to help you generate keywords:

  1. Express your topic in a topic sentence: "What is the effect of television violence on children?"
  2. Generate keyword search terms by identifying the main ideas or concepts within that topic sentence: "What is the effect of television violence on children?"; = Effect, Television, Violence, or Television violence and Children
  3. Expand your search terms by brainstorming related terms or synonyms that describe your main ideas:
  • Television; media, TV,
  • Violence; aggression,
  • Effect; influence,
  • Children; toddlers, youngsters, boys, girls