Preliminary Research


First of all, I want to congratulate you guys on participating as you are in this discussion. Everyone should be posting their questions and getting feedback from everyone else. I know that it at first seems overwhelming, but actually, getting floods of information is a very helpful thing.

In Aristotelian rhetoric, the idea of copia is talked about. This word is the stem for copious. You need copious amounts of information to get at the heart of the matter and to convince your audience you know what you are talking about. At this stage in the invention of your paper, don't worry about sorting through the stuff yet. As you get more and more information, a clear thesis will arise. Pay attention to your reaction, or gut feeling, when looking at info. What sounds good and what doesn't? Trust your own instincts here.

Start a file folder on your computer. Label it with your topic. Inside it create another folder (you'll eventually have several). Label it something like "dumping ground" and put all this stuff into it. (Copy and past info from your peers' comments, etc). You'll also have folders for bibliography, drafting, etc.

At the same time, just start writing out ideas and questions. Post them AND put these lists and brainstorming into the Dump folder.

Go to the internet and Google your topic. Have a Word document open at the same time. Put into the search line your topic sentence. See what comes up. If nothing does, rephrase, cut words, etc. If too much comes up, do the same. Then look at the titles. Don't go and click on anything yet. Do any of the titles catch your interest? Just highlight and copy the title and description and paste it into your Word document. Write a note about it. Then go back to the search results and read over more titles.

This is preliminary research and will help you hone in on your topic. Before reading these links in depth put in other keywords, maybe from the titles you've found. You can also go to Google scholar and find academic, medical, and scientific articles that are for the advanced researcher to use.

Eventually you will go to your Word Document and click on the links you've pasted there, or some of them, and explore the sites.

That should get you started on learning the scope of your topic, if there is info out there, how to word it, how to refine it. Keep all these notes in your folder for future reference. You may think something is not worthy, but then later as your paper finds direction, you will want to go back to it.