Description of Activities For the research proposal and process, you will start by generating a topic from watching Food, Inc. Develop your topic into a question by engaging in broadening and narrowing the topic in order to explore different perspectives. The final research question you pose should be narrowed enough that you could address it in a 10 page essay. Demonstrate your narrowing and broadening techniques by using heuristics, identifying additional keywords from search results, and maximizing the use of subject headings/descriptors, appropriate sub-divisions, related terms, and thesauri. To narrow a topic, remember to apply strategies introduced in Booth, el at (Ch 3 & 4).
The bibliography should include sources you have evaluated and rejected as well as those you have included. The resources you cite should vary across primary, secondary, and tertiary distinctions and various types of information: background information, in-depth studies, overview of a topic.. See the marking criteria.
Describe what you are doing and explain why. You might consider the following questions to help you get started: What thought processes did you go through to get to your research question? What caused frustration or seemed like a dead-end (sometimes dead-ends lead to new avenues of research or help you-focus on another aspect of a topic)? Is it a pure question or a practical one?
Search strategies are important. Do you use a variety of keywords (including synonyms) when you search? Do you use truncation, subject headings, and variant spellings? Do you break your searches down into multiple queries, across multiple databases? Do your search queries change depending on the database that you are using? How are you making use of subject headings to retrieve the most relevant materials? Have you discussed the scope of the database that you’ve chosen?
Evaluating sources is important. What criteria do you use to reject a source? How do you choose among sources that seem to say the same things? How do you determine the quality of sources? I recommend using strategies outlined in Booth, et al, Chapters 5 and 6.
Your research process is informal, so using first-person is okay. Strive for 1750-2500 words, plus a working bibliography in APA citation style. Your mark will be determined by content rather than presentation style and page numbers, so while it should be typed, you may choose the font style and size that you prefer. Your discussion of how your topic changed while searching and evaluating information should be in prose form. You may also use mapping techniques with bulleted points or include tables with search queries. Appendices may be included to show hand- written brainstorming techniques (note-book pages, research logs), screen shots of search results, subject indexing (browsing), marginal notations on material you’re reading etc.