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ENG 152: Digital Nation



  • Helpful if you have an idea for a paper but not a fully-formed research question
  • Further explore a topic to see if enough information about a topic exists
  • Helps you refine your topic or help you find a new aspect of it to explore

A library database like Opposing Viewpoints is a great place to start. Their Browse Issues feature lists hundred of topics to explore. For each topic, you'll find a summary, as well as a list of numerous sources in various formats.

Start by reading the summary to gather keywords that look interesting to you.

I chose Artificial Intelligence. These are just a few of the keywords I found:

  • algorithms
  • semi-autonomous vehicles
  • privacy rights
  • Turing test
  • heuristics
  • Watson and IBM
  • chatbots
  • self-driving cars
  • National Science and Technology Council
  • Growing Artificial Intelligence Through Research Act

I also did a Google search for examples of artificial intelligence and read about smartwatches, which is something I'm familiar with.

From my pre-research I was able to formulate a research question, which is the first step of the research process:

The Research Process

The Research Process

  1. Start with your research question or thesis statement.
  2. Identify key concepts.
  3. Identify keywords related to those concepts.
  4. Choose your search tools.
  5. Test your search.
  6. Revise/refine your search.


Step 1: Research Question

How do fitness trackers allow people to take control of their health?

Before we can dive into our research, we should brainstorm some keywords specific to our research question.

  1. Do your own exploration of the main ideas of our research question.
  2. Go to our Padlet to add some keywords you think will be helpful in our research. (Right-click to open the Padlet in a new tab so you can easily return to our research guide.)

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