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CS-395-01- Research: Professor R. Jimenez: Selecting & Defining Topic

Starting the Research Process

It is important to have  clear understanding of the assignment, if in doubt, do not be afraid to ask your professor for clarification as to what is required for the assignment.

Selecting a Topic

  • Browse your textbook, great place to start since it is the first source that you have available.
  • Browse computer science related journals, magazines, books and websites.
  • Go over your class notes, since your professor and classmates will mention topics during class discussions that you would like to be more educated about.
  • Most important, select a topic that is interesting and will keep you motivated to do the research.

Narrowing a Topic

Use the the following questions to help refine your topic:

  • Why you have interest in the topic/important to research?
  • What about the topic that will be addressed (historical or occurring aspect)?
  • When the issue will be beneficial or resolved (time period)?
  • Who will be affected (specific group/individual)?
  • Where the issue will have an impact (location)?
  • How might the issue be resolved or affect individual/group?

Problem Statement

A problem statement is a move that a document makes to help the reader realize why the document is important. Problem statements can be either formal--like a thesis statement--or they can be informal--usually a sentence that explains how what you are saying will impact the reader. A carefully crafted problem statement will help you to connect with your audience and will help your audience to see why your document is important...Read More.

Purdue OWL Problem Statements PowerPoint Presentation

Clarifying the Challenge: Episode 8 of The Creative Thinker's Toolkit The Great Courses (00:32)

This lecture focuses on the clarification step of creative problem solving, in which you identify your goal, gather data, and formulate your challenge. Professor Puccio shows you how to use a variety of helpful tools, including finding out the "who, what, where, when, why, and how" of a problematic situation and developing a powerful challenge statement.

Defining a Topic

  • Initially, your topic will be TOO BROAD. An example is Artificial Intelligence (ask yourself, what about a topic that you would like to focus on).
  • Once you have decided on a topic, do some background reading to get a good understanding of the topic.
  •  As you read more and more about your topic, you will be able to focus on a specific area of interest, which will help with narrowing your topic.  
  • You may need to modify your topic several times to get it just right.

The Abstract

The abstract provides a brief but comprehensive summary of the contents of your paper. It provides an overview of the paper and helps readers decide whether to read the full text. Limit to 250 words. Read More.

Documentation and Citation of Sources

It is very IMPORTANT to keep correct documentation of the sources used during the research process for the following reasons:  

  • If the ideas and thoughts are not originally yours, you must give credit to the owners of the works, otherwise this will result in plagiarism.
  • Using the works of others without giving credit to the owners is also a violation of the copyright law
  • Proper citations enable your instructor and others to check the cited sources.

College Success: What Is Research? Segment 1 of 3 (03:36)

Students can develop stronger arguments for their college essays by using multiple sources for research. Use reliable Internet databases; utilize library resources; and include diverse points of view...More Segments.