Research Tips

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To verify your class attendance, and as an in-class exercise, open a Reply below and keep notes about the usefulness of the advice in this post. Reply also if it hasn’t been useful. If you want me to believe you didn’t read it despite my efforts to help you, don’t reply at all. 🙂

Why this is important

I found Username a source using Google Scholar and the Rowan library.

“I can’t find any sources!”

Username and I were talking last week about his topic, the hateful anti-gay rhetoric spewed by the Westboro Baptist Church, that passionate, let’s just say obnoxious and vicious group responsible for the God Hates Fags signs they display at funerals for American soldiers, gay or otherwise.

His thesis is that the Church inadvertently creates support for the gay community. The Supreme Court mandated that gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, but there’s been plenty of pushback in many locations and other rights that heterosexuals take for granted are routinely denied the gay community. Outfits like the Westboro group make it harder for regular folks to share a point of view with a group so tasteless. We don’t want to be associated with the “God Hates Fags” group, so we find it impossible to publicly support their cause.

So far, Username has been frustrated looking for sources to support his thesis. No amount of searching for “Westboro Baptist Church” has yielded the sort of evidence he’s looking for. Which is a good thing, but he doesn’t know it yet.

“I’ve been looking in the wrong place!”

  • I suggested to him that the trouble was his search technique. He was looking for direct testimony from somebody that the WBC were creating enemies for their cause.
  • I asked him why. He said he wanted evidence that we all want to associate our opinions with people we admire, and that we avoid being associated with people we despise.
  • I asked him if he could give me an example. He suggested that sometimes the sudden appearance of unexpected people in media presentations have polarizing effects on viewers’ feelings. When Oprah Winfrey endorses a cause, for example, some people automatically embrace the cause to show their solidarity with Oprah, while others resist the cause from a similar impulse.
  • I asked him how this related to the WBC. He said the appearance of the celebrity reflects on the value and credibility of the message. It was clear from our conversation that the personalities involved in expressing an opinion affect our opinions.

“All I had to do was talk about it with someone”

  • Once we had shifted the focus away from the Westboro Baptist Church to the effect of celebrity endorsers, we had a whole new area for research to investigate.
  • A few years back, we noted, not just golf fans, but people in general, wanted to associate with Tiger Woods any way they could, which made him a massively popular product endorser. Now marketers won’t touch him with a 9-iron.

The process Username had been using:

  1. I want to prove my thesis that the Westboro Baptist Church creates support for gay rights.
  2. I search endlessly for “Westboro Baptist Church.”
  3. Nobody has written about the effect of the WBC on public opinion.
  4. Nobody has written about the accidental support the WBC provides for gay marriage.
  5. Since I can’t find any authoritative source that addresses itself directly to my thesis . . .
  6. I despair that there are no sources to prove my thesis, that the WBC creates support for gay rights.

The best (worst) outcome for this process:

  • Somebody would agree with me, which would prove my thesis. FAIL.
  • Somebody would have written about the idea before I did and I would simply echo them to support myself. FAIL.
  • I would “succeed” by parroting someone else’s thesis. FAIL.

What should I do instead?

  1. Think about (better yet, TALK about) my thesis until I start to raise questions that can be researched by searching something other than Westboro Baptist Church.
  2. Follow up that lead I generated for myself by raising the question of celebrity endorsement.

“This stuff actually works!”

Shortly after that conversation, I typed “celebrity endorsement” into Google Scholar and generated this lead on the second page:

The effects of negative information transference in the celebrity endorsement relationship

The source is a journal of retail management. It has nothing to do with the Westboro Baptist Church, but it has everything to do with how far people will go to distance themselves from a product (or perhaps a political or social position) on the basis of negative information about a celebrity who endorses it.

“But I can’t actually get the article I want!”

The actual journal article was not available for free on Google Scholar. The cost to print the article was $32. And I didn’t even know if it would help me. I like Username a lot, but that was a little steep for a source of unknown value. So:

“Oh. That was easy.”

I entered the title above into the search engine for Rowan’s Campbell Library. (I didn’t even have to choose between ProfSearch and ProQuest; the generic search engine did all the work for me, since I knew the title.) The immediate result was this:

The effects of negative information transference in the celebrity endorsement relationship

Free access to the full article from ProfSearch. Free because I’m affiliated, as you are, with the Rowan library database and the thousands of journals it subscribes to. This first article, discovered after just minutes of effort, yielded this nugget:

As the pairing of the product and celebrity is continually repeated in advertisements, consumers begin to automatically associate the celebrity with the product she is promoting, setting up the potential for negative information transfer. Transference theory assumes that “the effects of past relationships (positive or negative) will carry over into future relationships” (Bunker and Ball, 2005, p. 510). When a negative celebrity event occurs, consumers gain new insights into the celebrity’s bundle of meanings, which in turn will impact the social relational process into the future (Berk and Andersen, 2000; Bunker and Ball, 2005; Chen and Andersen, 1999). We can predict that when negative meanings become part of the celebrity’s bundle of meanings, consumers will metaphorically transfer the meanings into their perception of the product as well. Thus, the negative celebrity information has the potential to not only affect how consumers feel about the celebrity, but it can also affect their feelings toward the product the celebrity is promoting.

And a second finding that shows the process to operate in reverse as well.

Associative network framing and elemental learning forms the theoretical foundation for much of the research investigating celebrity endorsement effectiveness. Associative learning theory is concerned with the factors that govern association formation when two stimuli are repeatedly presented together (Pearce, 1987). Elemental learning, which is indicative of celebrity/product associations, “treats stimulus patterns as composed of elemental units, each of which enters into the associative structure” (Harris, 2006). In a dual elemental memory pattern, both memory units exhibit equal and similar influence on each other. Thus, Till (1998)theorized that the association link that forms as a result of a celebrity endorsement can work in reverse as well. By repeatedly pairing a celebrity with a product, not only do consumers begin to think about the product when exposed to the celebrity, but they also begin to think about the celebrity when exposed to the product. Therefore, the transference of negative meanings should be expected to work in reverse, allowing negative information concerning a product to affect the perceived meanings consumers have of the celebrity as well.

So, to update that process:

  1. Think about your topic.
  2. Talk about your topic.
  3. Listen carefully for researchable topics not immediately named in your thesis.
  4. Use whatever search engine works best for you
    • Library Database directly
    • Google Scholar
    • Wikipedia articles that yield rich lists of sources you can then retrieve by title
  5. If you run into a pay wall, enter the titles in the Campbell Library database.
  6. Read about the value (both positive and negative) of celebrity endorsement.
  7. Learn about our tendency to dissociate ourselves from unsavory characters (AND their products, AND their social views).
  8. Apply that evidence—from outside your primary topic—to your very specific thesis.

About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels. www.davidbdale.wordpress.com
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44 Responses to Research Tips

  1. childishharambe says:

    I believe the class discussion was very helpful with how to find and utilize sources better. I understand what you mean now when you emphasized not echoing off someone else’s opinion. It makes the author look lazy when he just piggy backs off something that was already said even if you change the words up a little bit differently. I need to find supporting topics that can help bolster my argument.

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    • childishharambe says:

      Going off of this I usually find my sources on the online Rowan Library. After attending todays class I plan on utilizing GoogleScholar a little bit more as I feel that it is a little bit easier to use then the online library. So with that being said I began my attempt to search for supporting topics and anything relevant to my research topic. When I first attempted to search I realized I have to be more specific or more lenient with what Im asking for from the search engine. I saw another thing that was quite interesting. As I began battling with my original topic and plan on changing it revising and proposing a new topic I would like to attack a big issue America faces which is obesity. Concession stands are known to be overly priced and not healthy in the least bit. Another thing that concession stands do is influence underage drinking. Sports games world wide influence its spectators to let loose in a sense. By doing this most people neglect their diet and indulge in multiple alcoholic beverages along with typical concession stand purchases such as soft pretzels, hot dogs, and many others. I saw through scholarly sources provided through Google Scholar that America is not the only country that suffers from unhealthy habits not just those that pertain to concession stands. I plan on changing my topic to changing how we should change how we spectate professional sports games. This would include how to act and maybe inventing new rules on how to be a better spectator. Convincing others that we need to change this unhealthy tradition that has been going on much too long. Maybe banning alcohol advertising and cutting people off at games when it is apparent that they had one too many drinks already.

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      • davidbdale says:

        The primary value of a semester-long research project is that it encourages writers to follow the research where it leads. Rare and unfortunate are the students who end the semester without ever deviating from their original hypotheses. Those who change their minds do so because they’re learning.

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    • davidbdale says:

      It’s a challenge, but I’m glad you recognize the value of making an original contribution to the academic literature, Harambe.

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  2. phillyfan321 says:

    This class discussion was very interesting. I realized that I can make my own conclusions for my topic using other situations and examples that may not exactly relate to my topic. Coming up with sources should be easy since I am using facts that I can add to come up with my conclusion. I think that I could use google scholar for my paper. If I find a good article, I would consider using it in my paper.

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    • phillyfan321 says:

      My thesis is that the New Jersey sales tax does not place an extra tax burden on the poor. While thesis is not a topic that is discussed a lot, I can come up with the conclusion. There are many facts in the tax law and many resources that the state gives retailers regarding the tax.

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  3. baritonemusicman says:

    I think that the lecture was very useful coming from a different school that had their own layout when it came to researching thru the library database. Also in listening I was able to see that my thesis was a good start but I would not be able to do anything but echo the words of those who came before me. In order to really find a well prepared counter intuitive argument I would need to be more specific on the topic. My best approach would be to look at my original topic and attempt to look at it from a different perspective. Wanting to shed light on a view that is unlikely to be pointed out by the majority.

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  4. dragon570 says:

    The Westboro Baptist church goes to soldiers funerals to protest about what the think is wrong. The church inadvertently promotes the homosexuality. The professor said that the student was using a poor search technique. For example, Mel gibson was popular but after inappropriate actions it caused him to lose endorsements. You want to be the first to write on your topic because your just piggy backing off of someone else’s opinion. Nobody has written on his topic but it’s a good thing because it’s a new incite on the topic. Google scholar can help better then just searching it up on regular google. A way to expand on more sources is to find something in your topic that can be used to find more sources. For example, The student was looking for things about WBC when in just 5 minutes the professor found something that was about celebrity endorsements and the positive and negative effects of celebrities having an endorsement. Don’t just limit yourself to on thing about your topic. “Talking about your topic is better than thinking about your topic.”

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    • davidbdale says:

      I hope you’ll take me up on this prospect, Dragon, if you haven’t already. Talk with me about your topic. I’m pretty good at guiding writers to saying what they haven’t fully thought out yet.

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  5. yeezygod21 says:

    Todays class was really helpful because I finally my a source that potentially will support my claim for my research paper. I’ve never heard of Google Scholar until now, because I was not exposed for my previous research papers in my other college and high school. Now using this great source it will save me a lot of time. Mostly, my topic I feel there will be supportive information that really can make strong argument towards readers.

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  6. collegekid9 says:

    This was a very helpful and interesting discussion that we had. We are given enough databases to to work with thanks to the online library. When talking about the effects that heroin has on its addicted people, I realize that I should not echo what someone has said and that I should emphasize how these people are reacting. When being given medical heroin I will be able to look up medical pages and get results from doctors about the problem with heroin off the street instead of the clean given heron given by a doctor.

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  7. This class discussion was very useful. Based on the topic that I am researching , coming up with sources used on my topic can be difficult because many people might have their own interpretation on the data that they believe is right on the police shootings. Based on the lecture today , google scholar might be a good source to use for my articles. Google scholars might be actually great because it have actual data that I can use. I can also use google scholars on actual shooting crimes that was committed by the law enforcements.

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  8. btb100 says:

    finding the right places to look up good information is important to having a good paper.
    Better that there are less people who agree with us so it shows we have our own opinion rather then copying someone else’s.
    search for other topics around your ideas to help propose a better idea.
    Rowans library database is a good source to get information.
    Find a search engine that I am comfortable with.
    Talk with others about your topic maybe they can help you find something that can relate to your thesis.
    For me when I look for ideas about why the US should stay out of foreign affairs, I should look more into problems with out own country that we should fix first.
    Maybe look into other countries idea about getting involved with foreign affairs see what there results are compared to The US and see what worked out better for them.
    See the thoughts of people who agree who should fix our own problems before trying to help others.

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  9. bluedream1997 says:

    I definitely found the advice you provided in this post and expanded upon in class today to be informative. I believe that I have a pretty good understanding of how to conduct proper research for a paper and that I know how to utilize that research in order to develop a supportable argument, however I had surprisingly never even heard of Google Scholar or the Rowan Library’s search engine until today, and after learning about how useful those resources can be I have little doubt that I will be making use of them in the near future for that purpose. You also reemphasized the concept of “cows and chips” from earlier in the semester by encouraging us again to incorporate analogies in our writing to better explain the abstract ideas we stumble upon during research and discuss in our work, an important lesson I realized has slowly been slipping from my mind since doing the Stone Money assignment in September.

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  10. belladonna98 says:

    ~If no one has written about it, we need to write about it!
    ~Our positive or negative connotations attached to people can sway our opinions about completely unrelated topics.
    ~We don’t need examples specific to our topic, but examples that relate to our topic and support it.
    ~Don’t just regurgitate other people’s opinions.
    ~Success in a paper like this is not what we think it is.
    ~This is all about our own ideas and how we can support them.
    ~When you communicate your ideas, they actually become concrete thoughts.
    ~Google Scholar is actually the greatest thing humanity has ever done.
    ~Lots of articles found on Google Scholar can be found at Rowan’s library.
    ~Rowan’s server automatically gives you full texts when logged into it.
    ~Research is not as hard as it seems when it’s done right.
    ~Further reading can be found in an article’s bibliography.
    ~Something that supports a thesis does’t necessarily have to be about that thesis.
    ~Analogies are helpful in giving support in an unconventional way.
    ~There are a plethora of sources available to us.
    ~Don’t just stick to what your thesis is about.
    ~You can apply seemingly unrelated topics to your thesis.

    I like the idea of not just sticking to what you’re researching specifically. It’s the epitome of thinking outside the box and it will strengthen a lot of arguments. My thesis is that DBT could help most college students, not just those with diagnosed disorders. But I don’t have to limit myself to this alone. I could discuss physical therapy, and that basic muscle strengthening exercises can benefit everyone, not just those with injuries. Or I could talk about how government subsidies often given to the poor in our country benefit the majority of people in other countries. Socialized medicine is not just given to the sick, but it benefits nearly everyone. Some governments give a basic income to everyone of a certain age, giving blanket financial security to all citizens. That is essentially what DBT could do, it would give blanket mental health to nearly everyone. It is like a government subsidy given to all citizens. Not everyone seems to need it, but everyone could benefit. It would be easy to find articles on such government practices, especially with the plethora of sources at my fingertips. This is a topic that will soon make an appearance in my White Paper.

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  11. nyctime7 says:

    We want our piece of work to be different from another person’s. The goal is to introduce something new about our proposed opinion, not to echo someone else’s. We don’t necessarily need to find sources for our specific thesis. We can compare and contrast our thesis with other abstract ideas and use them for research(using celebrity endorsement as an example for WBC endorsement). Search engines like Google Scholar are extremely helpful and can possibly provide free access to content which would not be free otherwise. I personally have had some trouble with finding sources for my proposal. With these tips, I believe I can now broaden my scope and not only search for information relating to police and racism. Perhaps I can research the effects of racism with other races, and not specifically the police enacting that racism. For example, the underlying racism that most if not all of us, have developed towards people from the middle east. The association with them and terrorism and how it isn’t intentional, yet we sometimes act on that bias. I may also need to change my thesis. I won’t be offering anything new in regards to the fact that there is racism among police. I guess i’m essentially echoing the thesis of many other people, which is something I don’t want to do.

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  12. amazonite345 says:

    Don’t search for your exact thesis online- there is a work around.
    Finding your thesis online would only lead to you mimicking a currently existing thesis.
    Google Scholar provides academic resources instead of non-academic sources.
    You don’t need to directly search for the main topic of your paper – look for parallels
    Google scholar may ask for money – look for the titles it gives you on Rowans library and you may get it for free.
    Library database is a good alternative to Google Scholar
    Draw conclusions from previously mentioned parallels and apply those conclusions to thesis.
    Talking about your thesis can provide a new insight, which in turn creates more leads.

    I think my biggest take away from this lecture is the idea that we can search for something seemingly totally unrelated and apply it to our thesis. Normally I would pigeonhole my searches onto the topic and try to apply it even where it was inapplicable. Now I see I don’t need to be so closed minded in my search, which will go a long way in completing the paper. I also learned about Google Scholar, though I don’t know how much it well help as I’ve already been using the Rowan Campbell Library database.

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  13. socrateslee13 says:

    The Westboro baptist church attend funerals of soldiers and make anyone at the funeral feel uncomfortable. This has caused them to make few friends and many enemies. A student has decided to write about this topic and the professor suggested to change the way he has researched the topic searching for articles to support his point.The appearance of the celebrity and their behavior has affected their endorsements. By switching the focal point of Westboro baptist church to celebrity endorsers, the student was able to find more evidence for his thesis. The student began to research about the Westboro baptist church and how they support gay rights, as well as how they have not written about how the Westboro baptist has accidentally supported gay rights.The impact a celebrity has when it comes to endorsements, stems from the fact that if someone likes that particular celebrity they will want to be use the things associated.
    The technique that i believe will work best for me would be to use scholar google and the rowan database to find better sources to support my thesis better. Another technique I plan on using would be to slightly change the focal point of my topic instead of focusing on such a broad thesis. I desire to narrow my thesis down somewhere or at least re word my thesis so my thesis can be proven much better. Due to the fact that before my thesis needed some work because it had too much going on it did not to the point and inform the audience my focal point and evidence and how I will prove this thesis. Rather my work was very drawn out and what could be explained in 2 sentences ended up being extended into about 6 or 7 sentences.

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  14. jsoccer5 says:

    I feel that this lecture was incredibly helpful. You made it more clear on how to find scholarly articles and also how to not piggy back or echo someone else argument, make the argument your own. I also found it incredibly helpful on how to think outside the thesis. For my thesis that sugary drinks should have an age limit on them to help with childhood obesity instead of constantly looking up sugary drinks and obesity, I am going to try researching tobacco or alcohol and the results of putting the age restraint of 18/21 on it and how that has changed the effect of lives to compare my thesis to and help support it. I feel that this lecture was vey helpful to find good resources and it is not as hard to research as I thought.

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    • davidbdale says:

      That’s clever, jsoccer. Research and proof by analogy are very useful techniques. They don’t technically “prove” that solutions for one problem will help solve another, but they make powerful arguments.

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  15. philly321 says:

    The less you find the better.
    Do not search the term “Westboro Baptist Church.” Start looking for something else. Do not find evidence that has already been argued.
    Example, shift the focus away from the Westboro Baptist Church to the effect of celebrity endorsers. The result is a whole new area for research to investigate.
    The best (worst) outcome: Somebody agrees with me, which would prove my thesis.
    We cannot think unless we talk about it. Talking out loud could create questions and further my thesis paper.
    Take advantage of Google Scholar.

    My biggest take away from this lecture would be that the less research I find on my topic the better off I am. I had a really tough time finding research on my topic because I was using similar techniques as Username. I need to stop brainstorming. I need to talk more about my topic so that I can make connections between different ideas. The shift away from the Westboro Baptist Church to the effect of celebrity endorsers was genius. I intend to find different articles and apply it to my research paper. I have rarely used Google Scholar. You showed me that Google Scholar is incredibly resourceful. Not to mention, clicking on one article on can lead to a variety articles relative to what you searched. I am already beginning to think outside my narrow mindset and intend to talk to my peers to possibly spark other ideas. This class really helped me open my eyes to my topic. Thank you.

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    • davidbdale says:

      That’s great to hear, Philly. Thinking alone in a box works for almost no one. The mere act of talking aloud with a receptive audience is even better than writing a rough draft. It’s a social act that provides feedback and amplification that writing alone cannot match.

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  16. scarletthief says:

    “Research Tips” Notes:
    -Search technique: don’t try to find evidence directly related to your thesis
    -Have a thesis that hasn’t been done before – if you can find articles directly related, your thesis isn’t the first and isn’t good.
    -use Rowan server to find free full texts/articles (abstracts+hypotheses+method+etc.)
    -by searching askew from your thesis, you bring insights from academic/scientific articles you can use to support your topic

    The Tips are useful to help me find sources on Google Scholar, the library database, and wikipedia. I thought Wiki was actually not allowed to be used. I never use these search engines so I was happy to informed of better places to find info on my topic. I do think I need help on forming a solid and definite thesis so hopefully the sources I find will help me to do just that. You may know my topic already, but I’m not sure how to focus my essay. Should I focus on how racial self identification has less support compared to gender self identification? I found articles that helped me to “define” race, but it leads me to more questions and I’m not sure what exactly to do with the information. Could I focus on there being more benefits when choosing your race than when choosing your gender? However, in this case the one benefit of gender identification can be males who now identify as women have an advantage in the Olympics. There are so many sides to this topic I need help. Please.

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    • davidbdale says:

      I think you’re very wise to continue to investigate both race and gender, Scarlett. This theme you’re pursuing of “finding benefits” of gender identification might parallel an analogous “wish fulfillment” in personal racial self-identification too. Anyone who isn’t 100% genetically of a single race might be forgiven for having a preference. Race might be “definable”; gender too. But both will smack up against the desires of human beings to identify themselves with the groups they feel offer them the most comfort, benefit, peace, affirmation. Gather everything you can for now and remain open to inspiration. You don’t need to be “finding” anything in particular while you research. The more angles you pursue, the more likely you are to luck into a thesis nobody else owns.

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  17. wvuhockey says:

    I enjoyed how you said it was best to use your own words opposed to using someone else’s. Unless the source is from a reputable source then it is irrelevant. In my article talking about youth sports injuries, my personal experience of playing hockey for 16 years is a pretty reliable source. I have experienced much of the described trauma first hand and on multiple occasions. I feel like I can add a lot of additional detail from these experiences. More detail than someone who had never experienced any of these injuries. (Currently loving the music choice).

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  18. 31savage says:

    The advice given about not finding sources is helpful. My topic is a topic that has been talked about but they never talk about in the way of defining America as a free country. You helped me to realize, if I found articles on everything I am researching I should find a new thesis. It would be a waste of time for me to write about something someone else have already written about. I can now start to narrow my thesis down to a specific topic. Finding a topic that will make people disagree with me because they haven’t thought about my topic from a different prospective can be a successful topic. Try to find content that isn’t the same as same as the topic. The content should be parallel to the topic.

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  19. thesilentbutdeadlycineman says:

    Notes
    It isn’t uncommon to not find any sources on a topic. Stop searching for sources focused directly on the topic. Talk about thesis until questions arise that can be researched by searching something other than the topic, but that mirrors said topic. Using Google Scholar through the Rowan Network will provide a plentiful of useful links, some connected to the Rowan library database. Use Wikipedia articles for the list of sources you can retrieve through them. Relate this outside information to the original topic.
    Feedback
    I find this information to actually be very interesting. Once you explained it in class, the process made much more sense. I will definitely use Google Scholar and the Rowan Library Database to find more seemingly unrelated sources. Now, I am not sure if these are examples that illustrate your lecture, but in my Definition Argument essay, I brought in the topics of ” don’t judge a book by its cover” and the racist treatment of African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and used them to show how Rock ‘n’ Roll is misunderstood. Even if these previous sources are not exactly what you meant in your lecture, I will try from this point on to find new sources like the ones in your lecture.

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  20. thathawkman says:

    Notes-
    -dont look for things that completely pertains to your topic.
    -google scholar
    -start to find a point that is essential to your thesis that isn’t your thesis in order to help find relevant information
    -look for topics that are distant but relevant to the topic
    -Use a rowan connection in order to view articles in google scholar/library search engine
    once the parallel information is found, then relate it to the topic

    I believe that the class discussion today was very helpful. Actually hearing the different approach that I may have subconsciously been using now allows me to actively look for relatable information and help either finding more sources and/or make my thesis more specific. Also hearing what you should, and more importantly what you shouldn’t, do paths the essay to be much better than it would have been, Learning different methods to find info like using the Rowan Library database to find information for free allows new outlets to make writing the essay easier.

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  21. edwardnihlman says:

    I found the lecture to be very interesting and helpful. Similar to the student researching the Westboro Baptist Church, I found myself in a rut, constantly searching for specific articles that outright prove my thesis, that violent video games are used as a scapegoat for crimes, correct. It now shows me that I should consider looking at other forms of information that when put together can prove my thesis correct, because if there is just a single article already about my thesis, then it is already something written about that I am simply copying. I plan on using Google Scholar to find articles not directly stating that violent video games are scapegoats for crimes, but about why violent video games do not necessarily create violence in a player, why the government and/or parents might want to blame the games rather than someone else, and other sources of violence in people. Basically, I should be looking for things that I can use as evidence to build an argument, not just looking for a one-stop shop for all my information needs.

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    • davidbdale says:

      You say this beautifully, Nihlman, and—as is always the case—your use of specific examples from your own research and thesis about violent video games makes your explanation much more persuasive.

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  22. beyonce1234 says:

    Lots of points have been pointed out to me during the explanation of these tips. Usually students think that broadening a topic is going to the wrong direction, but it is certainly not. It is okay to focus on a over view point to find sources for this paper. This will help with my paper because, for my topic, I could only find a handful of good sources. I now see that this is a good thing, and I can write a effective paper because of the few sources. I can broaden the search of my sources and find different views of my topic. I found new questions to focus on with some discussion on my topic as well. I also will be doing my source finding on campus next time.

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    • davidbdale says:

      It sounds counterintuitive when you say it, Beyonce, but I think you’re right. Not being able to find sources that outright prove your thesis IS a good thing. It means you have an original thesis, and that’s something worth researching.

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  23. aaspiringwriter says:

    I found today’s class discussion very informative and helpful. I had heard about Google Scholar in my previous writing class but never used it. However, after today’s discussion I feel it’s a great source for conducting academic research and I am very keen to use it for my paper. I also learned that the best way to get a better understanding of a topic is by talking about it. Discussing your topic helps you get a better perspective. I am positive that the databases of Rowan Library and Google Scholar will save me a lot of time during research and will help me create a better argumentative paper.

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  24. tiggs18 says:

    Reading this agenda, i came to realize when looking at my topic, it is not the easiest to prove. I look around the internet for people thinking the same thing as i do for receiving surgery before the injury. Coming across somethings i want to find to prove the success rate of it, i can’t find much. I realize now that by talking about my thesis, i can start to arrive questions from people as i start to come to questions with myself on how it could really work. Some people who know the actual facts will think differently but most will questions it which will help research it. So what i got from all of this is that talking about a topic that people aren’t familiar with, they will want to know more making explaining a tad easier. I did know about databases from the library but now knowing where i can actually find everything helps a lot more. I still think the best thing i can do about my topic is just let it sit there and boil up until its the right time to explain to people the real thoughts behind it to make them believe.

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    • davidbdale says:

      I disagree on only one point, tiggs. Letting it sit is never the best course of action. Following leads is better.
      —Go back to the source you think is useful and trace it back one step to the material YOUR source used as ITS source. You may be very surprised to find that the author of YOUR source missed, or suppressed, or misinterpreted, or took out of context, the evidence you think is most valuable.
      —Alternatively, go to a source you think is tangential to your primary point and follow every clue it contains to find other materials that can also tangentially influence your opinion.
      —Letting it sit introduces nothing new to your pool of existing opinions and evidence.
      —Stirring the pot brings up stuff from the bottom.

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  25. lmj20 says:

    I thought the Research Tips post was very useful. The example about the Westboro Church was interesting because it showed that you don’t have to only stick to the specific topic presented in your thesis. A topic thats completely different could prove and be interrelated with your thesis. By just searching for one topic, we are narrowing our research and closing ourselves off to a wide variety of ideas. For my paper I’ve been using JStor mostly but I think it’ll be good for me to try Google Scholar, which I didn’t know about, and other library databases.

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