Ashford 2: – Week 1 – Assignment
Creating Your Research Question
At the end of this course, you will create an “Annotated Bibliography” Final Paper on a topic within your major field of study. This week, you will begin the research process by defining an information need (selecting a topic and forming a research question for your “Annotated Bibliography”). Choose an interesting topic from an area related to your major or a career that you would like to explore. For instance, if you are majoring in education, you might select a topic related to Common Core State Standards or adaptive technologies for special education classrooms. If you are studying health care administration, you may want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act. These options are only examples meant to guide you. Review Possible Topics for Research for more possible research topics to choose from.
As you can see after watching the video, Picking Your Topic IS Research, and reading Chapters 1 and 2 of your textbook, defining your research topic and gathering sources is a multi-step process. Parts 1 and 2 of this assignment reflect these steps. Watch the video below for more information to help you understand this process. Once you have watched the video, carefully follow the process below.
Part 1: Create a Concept Map
Write down ideas you are considering for your topic and begin organizing them (a process called brainstorming). Explore the Wikipedia entry Concept Map and then create your own. During your brainstorming, use the websites Text2MindMap, Bubbl.us, Mindmeister, or another concept mapping tool of your choice to help organize and connect ideas. Look at the Text 2 Mind Map – Vegetarianism. This is an example of a concept map on the topic of vegetarianism, a topic you will see as an example throughout the course. Notice the main topic in the center (vegetarianism), sub-topics surrounding it (health benefits, moral reasons, history, economic and environmental benefits), and issues or sub-divisions for each sub-topic.
When creating your own concept map, critically think about your topic (e.g., What would you like to learn about your topic? What do you already know about your topic?).
In your concept map,
- Include a main topic
- List everything you can think of about your topic as well as what you discover while doing background research.
- Include at least three subtopics that relate to your main topic from your list.
- Include three to four subdivisions for each subtopic (as in the example).
- Refine your concept map by further considering the relationships between the items on your map. Add any connections between topics that you may have missed, or perhaps remove others that no longer seem to fit.
Throughout the process of creating your map, conduct the background research described in the Creating Your Research Question video to verify you selected a strong research topic.
Once you are finished with your concept map, the Text 2 Mind Map website (or the mapping tool of your choice) will allow you to save a link to your map. Include this link with Part 2 of this assignment when submitting it through the online classroom.
Part 2: Creating Your Research Question Worksheet
Now it’s time to form your research question. The question you develop should follow a specific trail: topic, subtopic, issue or problem, and question. Complete the Creating Your Research Question Worksheet to create your research question and to reflect on the process. Save this document to your computer in an easy to find location. To complete the document, develop at least three focused research questions that are open-ended and address an issue or solve a problem. Select one question to use for your “Annotated Bibliography” Final Paper. Explain the process of doing background research and developing a research question. Save your changes as you go. You can use one of the subtopics and a related issue you identified in Part 1. Conducting background research and creating the concept map in Part 1 will help you significantly with this process.
View the Creating Your Research Question Worksheet (Example) to guide you as you complete this assignment.
Once you have completed both Part 1 and Part 2, submit the completed Creating Your Research Question Worksheet through the online classroom Assignment Submission button. Be sure that you have included the link to your concept map in the worksheet before submitting.