Before you launch your research, take some time to examine the essay prompt. Being familiar with your instructor's guidelines is key to your success on any research project. Review prompt often as you research and write your essay to make sure you are on track.
Think about an aspect of the Achievement Gap problem and select an aspect of it that genuinely interests you and/or is relevant to your life. Do a quick self inventory:
You'll want to consider the following issues before you select your topic:
Begin to identify the problems related to your topic. Which of these problems would you like to address? Which ones can be addressed?
Preliminary (or Background) reading is a great help in developing your main points (problem, causes, effects, solutions), as well as identifying useful search terms for future database searching. The point is not to start gathering your actual sources -- though you may very well find some along the way -- but to get comfortable with your topic by consulting engaging, easy to understand sources.
Use search terms like those below to find overview articles on your chosen student population in the Gale eBooks database:
Create some basic questions to guide your inquiry and get you to start thinking about the flow of your paper.
Well written research papers have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. You can create research questions that can help you craft all these sections of your paper. Your questions can then help with the flow of your paper and guide you to find information for each part of your paper.
Finding information today is easy; it's all around you. Making sure the information you find is reliable can be a challenge.
When you use Google or any social media to get your information how do you know it can be trusted? How do you know it's not biased? How do you know it's not misinformation or disinformation?
You can feel pretty confident that books you get from the library and articles you find in the library's databases are reliable because someone or some group has checked all the facts and arguments the author made before publishing them. You still have to think about whether or not the book or article is current and suitable for your project but you can feel confident that it is a trustworthy source.
Make sure each and every source you plan on using in your paper or research assignment passes the CRAAP test.
Now that you've completed your background reading and created your research questions, you are ready to use more specific terms to find additional information on your narrowed topic in our larger databases:
Use these selected larger databases to search for information to answer your research questions.
Use these research guides to find statistics on the Web and links to local organizations:
The Web is a great place to find statistics, news, and very current information.
When searching for reliable statistics, enter a search term, click Settings, then Advanced Search, then limit the domain to .gov
Remember to carefully evaluate every source you find on the Web.