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Choose a topic that interests you and will hold your attention. If you do, the research will be more enjoyable!
Choose a topic which has ample research available. When considering a topic, do a little preliminary searching to see if enough research exists for your to complete your assignment.
Choose a topic that is not too broad. You want to be able to cover your topic within the assignment parameters. If you are writing a 5 page paper, you will want to make sure your topic is narrow enough to cover in those 5 pages.
Purpose of Background Research:
Provides a good overview of the topic if you are unfamiliar with it
Helps identify important facts -- terminology, dates, events, history, organizations, etc.
Can help refine your topic
Leads to bibliographies which provide additional sources of information
Covers today's hottest social issues, from capital punishment to immigration to marijuana. Presents each side of an issue with viewpoint reports, and adds journal articles, statistics, video/audio, news, and primary sources.
Developing a Research Question or Thesis Statement