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Global Studies

Choosing a topic

Consider the following:

  • Choose a topic that you are interested in.

  • Choose a topic that is manageable to complete.

    • If too broad - you will have difficulty covering all of the necessary material.

    • If  too narrow, you may have difficulty finding material published or locally available on your topic.

Use reference sources to explore your topic or subject interest

  • Identify and make a note of terms and concepts relevant to your topic 

  • Identify scholars and individuals important to your subject area

  • Gather background knowledge on your topic

Google Scholar Search

Test your topic

Is it original

  • Has someone already answered your research question?

Test the “So what” factor

  • Is it relevant?

  • Is the answer obvious?

  • Why would your audience be interested?

Is it feasible to complete

  • Is there enough information on the topic?
  • Is there enough time to cover the information required to answer your research question?
  • Are the resources required available to you?

Topic: I am studying...

Question: because I want to find out what/why/how...

Significance: in order to help my reader understand...


Booth, Wayne C., et al. Planning your Project" The Craft of Research. Chicago UP, pp. 29-64. [Q180.55.M4B66 2016]

Focused topic:

How are online users experiencing or addressing privacy issues on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook?

Document your research process

Keep notes to map your information gathering process

Use a format (digital or print) that works for you

  • Bibliographic citations of books, articles, etc. that are related to your research interest;
  • Notes from discussions with professors, researchers, librarians or other individuals of interest to your subject area;
  • Questions, observations and concerns you want to explore or follow up on;
  • Recommendations on readings or contacts;
  • Brainstorming notes or diagrams, including search terms used;
  • Strategic plans for searching and gathering resources.