Now that you have a research question, it's time to take it apart and use it to create a search strategy for beginning your research.
A well-designed search strategy:
Begin with your research question or thesis statement. What are the key concepts in this statement or question?
For example, consider the following research question:
The most important concepts in this question are diverse workforce and company profits.
Before we go ahead and start searching for information on these concepts, we'll take a moment to create a list of synonyms and related terms, using the notes we took while doing background research. These terms will help us find more relevant information faster when we begin to look for sources.
Below are two strategies you can use to shape your search strategy.
Brainstorming is a free-association technique of spontaneously listing all words, concepts, ideas, questions, and knowledge about a topic. After making a lengthy list, sort the ideas into categories. This allows you to inventory your current awareness of a topic, decide what perspectives are most interesting and/or relevant, and decide in which direction to steer your research.
Learn more about brainstorming: Brainstorm for the Essay - Purdue Online Writing Lab
con·cept map·ping noun phrase: 1. A process, focused on a topic, in which group or individual brainstorming produces a visual graphic that represents how the creator(s) thinks about a subject, topic, etc. It illustrates how knowledge is organized for the group or individual.
You may create a concept map as a means of brainstorming; or, following your brainstorm, you may take the content you have generated and create your map from it. Concept maps may be elaborate or simple and are designed to help you organize your thinking about a topic, recognize where you have gaps in your knowledge, and help to generate specific questions that may guide your research. Combining brainstorming and concept mapping can be a productive way to begin your thinking about a topic area. Try to establish as your goal the drafting of a topic definition statement that outlines the area you will be researching and about which you will present your findings.
Learn more about concept mapping: Concept Maps - UNC Chapel Hill Learning Center
Follow these steps to create your own concept map.
Allow yourself at least 30 minutes to complete this activity.