WR 227 Stewart

Technical writing class working on proposals for the PCC Eco Social Justice Grant.

Background Research

Don't get lost in your topic!  Always start your research project by doing some background reading.   This will help you to understand the context of your topic so you can research more effectively.  You may also decide that you want to change the focus of your research as you learn more about your topic.  Your background readings will also help you find search terms that will help you as you continue your research. 

Watch this 4 minute video on using wikipedia and library online encyclopedias to start your research:

Sources for Background Research

Questions to Ask About Your Topic

As you start doing general reading to get an overview of your topic, here are some questions you may want to answer in your note-taking:

  1. What interests me about this topic?
  2. What questions do I have about this topic?
  3. Who is affected by this? Who cares about this?
  4. What are the major issues involved in this topic? Are there particular controversies or viewpoints of note?
  5. What key terms describe this topic or are there organizations or people should I be aware of?

Concept Map Your Topic

It can be helpful to create a concept map of your topic so that you can narrow down your topic or think of all the aspects of your topic you'd like to cover. A mindmap is a diagram of your topic and this three-minute video describes how to create one:

Turning an Interest into a Research Question

In this video, you’ll learn how to turn something you find interesting into a researchable question for a college research project.