Activity 2 - Refining Your Topic
Let's say your topic is "Frankenstein." Now, pretend that your assertion is that the story written by Mary Shelley is an early science fiction story that had social and ethical effects on scientific research. To cover this assertion thoroughly would require writing an entire book. You can refine this idea, however, by focusing your topic.
You can use many different sources to help you refine your topic, including class discussions, real-time Internet discussions, library catalogs and search engines, and preliminary readings. Begin your Internet research by noting keywords or concepts. Start by listing your topic and any related terms in your thesis statement. Try pairing terms and words for more selective searches. Many search engines provide a "Help" option as well, which can assist you in learning how to use a specific search engine to find information.
For instance, in the above example, you might consider:
Focus on defining "Frankenstein" as a science fiction story. What are the criteria that define the terms "science fiction" as a literary genre? What is the history of the genre of science fiction? The aim, or purpose, of your research project, thus, would be to persuade the reader that the story is a science fiction story, and that modern scientific research reflects some of the elements included in Shelley's masterpiece.
© 1999 by Addison Wesley Longman
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