UCOLL 300 - Unit III - Introduction
In the previous Unit, you identified a very general academic topic of interest. This is your starting point! You will take what you learn from this tutorial and apply it to your starting-point topic.
A starting-point topic is usually much too broad to lend itself to a typical research paper or project. You might be able to do your starting-point topic justice if you wrote an entire book or encyclopedia about it. This approach worked for you in high school probably, but you will need to narrow topics considerably to make them work for college-level research.
Why is this? One reason why your initial idea for a topic usually needs to be developed is because it is worded in very vague, "layman" terms.
Until you can describe your topic with very precise, disciplinary-based terms and concepts, chances are it will have very little focus. In Unit 1, when you explored reference tools, you should have picked up some specific concepts or vocabulary related to your starting point topic that will help you begin this progress of shaping a focused academic topic.
Additionally, evaluating article abstracts in Unit 1 was another opportunity for you to discover how scholars might express specific aspects of your start point topic. What did you learn from those exercises?
In this Unit, you will continue this process and add to your growing list of terms by using specialized databases. Remember that if you come across terminology you don't understand, you can go back to the reference tools and often find definitions and examples.
Here are some example starting point topics:
- global warming