By the end of this section, you should be able to:
The first step to any research project is to choose a topic. Often you can choose your own topic, however at times you may be given a specific topic or asked to choose from a predetermined list.
When you start thinking about your research project you should start by gathering background information. This information can help you to:
Some useful sources that you can use to gather background information are:
Finally, it's important that by the end of gathering background information, you have a sound grasp of your topic. If you can't easily discuss or explain your topic to friends and/or family, we recommend that you do further background research. Any gaps in understanding will cause issues as you continue to build your search strategy and may affect your understanding of the literature as you prepare to write your final report.
The following are some questions that you may want to ask yourself before continuing with your research.
Formulating a research question is often the most difficult part. You need to start by selecting a topic that interests you and then narrow it further if possible. The Five Ws are useful for narrowing your topic in that they allow you to examine a topic completely.
For any topic, start with the Five Ws:
From this, we could formulate the following research question: