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SOCI 35: Intro to Research Design and Methods

Exercise 1: Topic Mapping

At this point your topic is likely still fairly broad as you're just beginning to explore it and understand some of the nuances to in order to narrow it.  The more you're able to focus it, the easier it will be to find resources.

Research questions can develop from a number of different sources: 

  • Your own interests
  • Observation
  • Reading / previous science
  • Playing with data (GSS)
  • Something that has always bugged you (sociological)

Your own topic may have been seeded from an interest or an observation. To develop that seed even more, in this workshop you'll consult the previous science to see what scholars and researchers are investigating on the same topic.  That is, you'll spend some time uncovering scholarly conversations.  This will also help you narrow your topic to give it focus and depth.


Concept Map Template

Created in Google Jamboard, a free brainstorming/whiteboard service with your SCU account. 

Part 1: Choose Your Template

Part 1: Choose Your Template

Do you still have a fairly broad topic (e.g. economic inequality, educational inequality, health inequality, etc?) Then begin finding ways to narrow your topic by doing some exploration and brainstorming. Watch the Activity 1 video in Camino to learn about topic mapping and Jamboard.

Make a copy of this Google Jamboard and edit it for your own topic as you're exploring the article database under Part 2. 

OR do you already have a narrowed topic? Then begin using the encyclopedic sources on this back to learn some of the Who, What, When, Where, Why. Make a copy of this Google doc and edit it for your own topic as you're establishing some of the basics. 

Part 2: Develop Your Map

Part 2: Build Out Your Map

To build out your map, you'll use a sociology databases called “Social Sciences Full Text”, which provides access to 544 specialized journals related to sociology. Access it under the page in this guide called "Recommended Article Databases". Watch the  Activity 1 video in your Camino site to learn how to use the database to develop your map.