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CLDDV 109 - Advocacy Issues in Child Development (Williams-Jackson)

Learn to locate and cite academically appropriate sources for Cheryl Williams-Jackson's advocacy research paper.

Inquiry Driven Research: What Are You Trying to Figure Out?

Research works best when it is tackled with the true spirit of inquiry.

For this assignment, you will need to chose an issue to advocate for or against. But you will need to understand your issue thoroughly in order to make a good argument. Think of your research in terms of questions you need to answer: you aren't just looking for information, you're looking for ANSWERS!

Below are a few examples of guiding research questions in the field of advocacy for children:

  • What is the optimal role of the parent within early childhood development programs? 
  • What is the proper role of government in improving childhood nutrition?
  • What is the best way to protect children from gun violence?
  • Does homeschooling provide the best educational opportunities for gifted children?
  • Should workplace policies do more to encourage breastfeeding?
  • Should California require mandatory childhood vaccines?

Selecting a Topic

In addition to your class lecture and discussion notes and your textbook, here are some Web sites that might help jump start your thinking on child advocacy issues:

Child Advocacy/Children's Issues in Child Development: Sponsored by Head Start (U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services)

UNICEF Sponsored by the United Nations


Preliminary Reading: Getting Acquainted with Your Topic

It's important to begin your research learning something about your subject; in fact, you won't be able to create a focused, manageable thesis unless you already know something about your topic.

Do a Little Background Reading:

This step is important so that you will:

  • Begin building your core knowledge about your topic
  • Be able to put your topic in context
  • Create research questions that drive your search for information
  • Create a list of search terms that will help you find relevant information
  • Know if the information you’re finding is relevant and useful

Reference sources are highly credible sources filled with thorough yet concise discussions that let you know the “who, what, when, why, and where” information on your topic right at the start of your research.

Top Picks:

Asking More Questions!

New knowledge inevitably leads to new questions. Think of a television program involving a criminal investigation. Experts arrive on the scene to answer a fundamental question: "What happened here?" But their investigation merely begins with that basic question. Soon they are finding themselves answering more specific questions in order to figure out what happened. Who all was involved with the crime? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Why did it happen? Were there any witnesses? It is only by answering a series of smaller questions that they are ultimately able to see the big picture. 

A researcher investigates a topic much like a detective investigates a crime. You may start off with an overriding question such as

Should workplace policies do more to encourage breastfeeding?

But you'll soon find yourself asking many more questions on your journey. Below are some examples of additional questions one might ask about breastfeeding:

  1. What percentage of women in the U.S breastfeed?
  2. What are some of the advantages of breastfeeding?
  3. What are some of the challenges of breastfeeding?
  4. What are the current workplace policies regarding breastfeeding in private companies? In public employment?
  5. What do breastfeeding advocates recommend for workplace policies?
  6. What are the arguments against these recommendations?
  7. Based on my research, what do I think about the idea of workplace policies that encourage breastfeeding?

If you want to learn more about research questions, try our guide Develop Research Questions.

You might also want to watch this short video explaining the benefits of research questions.