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Show that your research will be part of a larger conversation

Two basic rhetorical positions can help you frame the novelty-and-importance argument in academic research.

  • Build on or extend a set of existing ideas. 'Person A has argued that X is true. This implies Y, which has not yet been tested. My project will test Y. If I find evidence to support it, it will change the way we view X.'
  • Argue that there is a gap in existing knowledge, either because previous research reached conflicting conclusions or failed to consider something important.

The overall goal is to show that your research will be part of a larger conversation: How your project flows from what's already known, how it advances, extends, or challenges the existing knowledge.

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Your background information should come from scholarly books and journals, or reputable mass media sources. Use search engines such as JSTOR and Google Scholar.

Create an annotated bibliography by providing at least ten sources relevant to your topic.

  • Name of author(s).

A systematic approach will establish the building blocks of your research project.

  • Clearly describe the question you've chosen to study.
  • Summarise the state of the art in knowledge about the question, and where your project could provide novel insight.
  • Identify the ...

Planning research projects requires creativity and sharp analytical skills.

Any research planning uses the same four steps:

  1. Orienting yourself to knowledge-creation
  2. Formulating your research question.
  3. Reviewing ...

At some point, you'll need to consider which data source and analytical strategy are most likely to give the answers you need.

  • Consider whether your question would be best addressed by qualitative data (interviews, observations, or historical re...

The 'literature review' section in academic research demonstrated that researchers have thoroughly and systematically reviewed relevant findings of previous studies on the topic.

  • Your research project should include something similar to a 'literature review.'
  • Wr...

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