Narrowing a Topic
This lesson, created for English 2010, or Argumentative Writing, teaches students how to use library databases and keywords in order to focus their research topics. Most students come prepared with a general or broad topic in mind, but they need to narrow their focus in order to get more relevant search results. Here they simultaneously learn to search in and use the library databases and to focus their research topics.
We collaborate with the English faculty and instructors on campus to make sure students are ready to choose a topic for their final research paper before they come to the library for this lesson. The English 2010 curriculum generally stipulates that students do small assignments throughout the semester to work up to this final research paper. Coming to the library for our Narrowing a Topic and Synthesis lessons are important steps in this research process. Some professors like to adapt these lesson plans to their students' needs.
-Understanding how to use library resources and why we use them (instead of Google, for example)
-Searching in library databases using Boolean operators, relevant keyword searches, and other library tools
-Focusing a general research question for a specific audience