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ENGL 100 - David Lau

Edited Version 2020 LM

Brainstorming Keywords Video

Identify your information need & Get to know what you need to know...

There are two main parts of getting to know your information need:

  • Understand your end goal (what is your professor asking of you? what is required to successfully complete the assignment?)
  • Identify your topic and primary research concepts (what are you going to write about? what are important related concepts, people, and events? what other language can be used to express similar ideas?) 

Your Topic and Primary Research Concepts

Before beginning your searches:

  • Identify broad or vague concepts that will need to be refined: What specific aspect are you interested in?
  • Ask & Narrow: Who, What, Where, When, Why/How
  • Brainstorm important related concepts: Ideas, people, organizations, events, etc.
    This may be closely related ideas; people or organizations; current or historical events; and even alternative ways of saying the same or very similar things...synonyms.

Different stakeholders often use different language to discuss the same phenomenon, in order to frame it in a way that works for their narrative--the story they are trying to tell. You can use these variations in language strategically to make sure you aren't missing out on important information for your project.

Take Note of the End Goal

Check Assignment Instructions

  • Approach: Research?  Persuasive? Annotated Bibliography? Identify the primary purpose of your assignment.
  • Terms related to approach:
    Identify other important factors related to your approach, including your target audience
  • Organizational & writing requirements, including length of paper
  • Citation requirements: MLA Style
  • Due Dates: Take note of due dates and make a plan to complete your work on time. Time management is a key to success with research, because there are a lot of unknowns at the start of the process.

Fun Plagiarism Videos

Developing a Topic

Your Main Ideas

Internet reform vs. specific internet reform issues

While some sources may discuss internet reform in general, others will focus on a particular internet reform issue related to its structure, regulation, or ownership.

Be specific--what kind of internet reforms do you plan to address?

Narrow further to focus on a specific issue such as net neutrality, privacy, internet advertising, intellectual property (copyright vs. copyleft), algorithmic editing of the web, etc.

What might reform look like?

What types of change lead to reform?

  • Policy, rule, or guideline change
  • Law or regulation change
  • Consumer choice / option changes
  • Funding or tax change
  • Other?

Who can enact or recommend change / reform?

Identify the authority or authorities who can make reform happen.

  • Elected official, government, political party or other political or governmental agency or committee? Federal Communication Commission (FCC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), US Copyright Office, etc.
  • Business or corporation versus nonprofit or NGO group? A leader or leaders at the organization such as a CEO, Board of Trustees, Chair, etc.
  • Broader systems, institutions, or consortia--judicial system, law enforcement, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), United Nations or UNESCO, etc.