Narrow Your Topic (Erica Larsen)

Prep: Bring extra whiteboard markers;
Objective: Help students brainstorm and understand exactly how narrow their topics need to be

Opening (5 min): Welcome and Prayer
Rush-Write (10 min): When has research made a difference in your life? When have you done research outside of a school setting? (Facebook stalking, deciding which school to come to, figuring out online if you have the common cold or cancer.)
Share with a friend

Discussion (15 min):

  • Jenna asked a great question last time- What are we going to write our research papers on?
  • The topic really needs a couple of things:
    • You need to be passionate
    • It needs to be controversial
      • Keep in mind, almost everything is controversial to someone. It just needs to be controversial to that someone and you need to be able to argue it.
    • Kairotic (timely)
      • Back to the conversation we had last time- join the conversation
      • What have you learned in other classes that you have questions about?
    • Arguable
    • NARROW

Narrowing Activity (20 min):

  • Write on the board the following categories (in 4-5 columns): Social Media, Mental Health, Heath, Environment, Sexism, Family, Poverty, Violence, Sports, Politics, Prisons, Communications, College, Education, Religion, Immigration, Business, Race, Copyright Ownership, and leave three spots open for people
  • Everyone look at their ideas- are there any other categories that are not included?
  • Have everyone write two narrower sub-topics
  • Pick two interesting topics on the board and ask people why they chose them
  • Show them how to make an even narrower topic
  • Have everyone come to the board and write a narrower topic
  • Okay, now you have a bunch of topics to choose from

Write (5 min):

Choose one of these sub-sub-topics and start brainstorming in your journals different questions you could ask

Departing Question (2 min): What is my information need? What sources fit that need? Where do I go to find such sources?

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