bls102_Narrowing Down a Researchable Topic: Developing a Problem Statement & Thesis Statement
(Booth, Colomb, & Williams, 2008)
Reflect on your topic-to-question statement:
First, distinguish between a practical problem and a research problem...
One way to look at a problem: A problem consists of a topic + indirect question + significance
Another way to look at a problem: A problem consists of a condition and a cost or consequence.
Example: Knowing when to give feedback that allows students to feel more confident when speaking with their peers (question #1 or condition) addresses the bigger question of how teacher intervention can either promote or discourage student's oral production in class (question #2 or cost/consequence).
Here are additional tips when searching for a problem to research:
Six steps to writing a literature review
Consider the following groups of questions when trying to narrow down your focus.
The mistake many researchers make is to focus too broadly on a linguistic aspect. Be specific in your linguistic focus.
As you are narrowing down a researchable topic, consider the list below as a good place to start as one begins the process of narrowing down a researchable topic in the field of applied linguistics. Ask yourself the following questions:
Other helpful websites include Choosing and Refining Topics and Writing a Thesis Statement.Next...
Once you have narrowed down a searchable topic, create a skeleton outline.
Booth, W., Colomb, G., & Williams, J. (2008). *The craft of research* (Links to an external site.). Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Machi, L. & McEvoy, B. (2009). The literature review: Six steps to success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
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