Skip to Main Content

WRTG 105 Belonging (Wang): Home



Brainstorming - step by step

Write what you know - what you’re curious about - don’t edit yourself! Terms that you know, researchers? Any more specific areas you might focus on -


Pre-research: Where do you get ideas for the right kind of terms? Wikipedia, google, news, friends? Take a few minutes to look around. If you like google, fine - just remember, we’re just getting the landscape. Try to think of some source that you have some trust in with respect to your topic.


First pass at narrowing your topic

Who - can you narrow the group?

Where - can you narrow the place?

When - can you narrow the time frame?

How - can you limit to a particular methodology/effect?

(If your research question/topic is super-specific - you can use these to broaden it a little, too.)


Using Articles and Books as brainstorming tool. (first tab: Articles & Books)  

What we’re not doing quite yet: looking for 10 pdfs to download and read. (We’ll get there, I promise)

  • We’re going to start by seeing what’s happening in the field *right now* - we’ll put some search terms in, and then use the filters:

Scholarly articles


Publication date (try “Last 12 months”)

Use the “Preview” link to read the abstract, subject headings, etc.

Not finding what you want? Try changing the search terms - you might be discovering new terms as you look.


Finding a few “starter” articles

Your research question should be getting a little more focused now. Find one or two articles that look promising. Open them up, and we’ll take a moment to think about how these might help us find more relevant research.

  • Author, journal, keywords

  • Lit review, introduction, background

  • Conclusion: areas for future research

  • Works Cited/ Bibliography/References

Is there one article cited that you like that’s more than 2 years old? Let’s see if anyone else has cited that article:

Now, you have a few articles, and you might find you need to go through parts of this again as your ideas change and develop.  Have a strategy and remember that I’m here to help with that!

 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Eileen Daly-Boas, University of Rochester

Reading strategies for vetting sources for close reading

PARTS Evaluations

When you review a website, remember to review its PARTS


-What is the purpose of the information? Entertainment, education, commercial, something else?
-Who is the audience meant to be?


-Who wrote this?
-Is this author qualified to speak about this topic?
-What biases or beliefs is the author showing, if any?


-Does this source answer your question?
-Where did the author get their information (can you tell)?


-When was this published?
-Has the topic changed at all since then?


-Do you need the information to be recent, or would an older source be just as good or better?
-Is this the best place to get THIS information? If you are using a source that cites another, could you find the original?
-What type of author is appropriate here? If you are interested in information about the government, for example, a government agency might be the most appropriate author type.
- What type of website it appropriate here? If you are interested in a college program, you’d want a .edu, for example. If you are interested in the mission of a non-profit organization, you will want to visit their .org directly.
-Do you need more background information before you can find the answers you need?


PIcking your topic is research

Get Help