1b. Once you've selected an initial topic, the next step is to develop research questions.
Plunging into research without a basic guide like a research question is like "filling a teacup with a fire hose" as you will be overwhelmed with the amount of information available.
To begin, ask yourself what type of project you're working on. A research paper? A quantitative study? A literature review? Although research questions can cross disciplines, it's important to understand your end product.
After you've clarified your type of project, continue by doing the following:
Your topic may be brand new to you, or you could be starting a project that you have experience with. Either way, decide now where you fit in the chart below, and prepare to write your questions.
Ready to write your research questions? Head to the next section.
Consider creating a mind map. Mind maps are ways to put your thoughts into a visual format. You may use a piece of paper, or create an online map at a free service such as Wisemapping. Once you start a mind map, you can use it as a way to brainstorm keywords for your topic. It has other uses, too, such as planning out your entire research project. Mind maps may also be used as a presentation tool. For ideas on how to form a mind map, visit Mappio.
What do I (or don't I) know about the Endangered Species Act (ESA)?
I know it's a law that protects animals and their habitats that are in danger of extinction. I believe the law only protects habitats that are within the U.S. boundaries. I know at one point bald eagles and grizzly bears were on the list, but I think they've been removed. I know there has been a lot of controversy recently about adding polar bears to the list. I don't know what it takes for an animal to be removed from the list and I don't know what the penalties are for violating this act.