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Senior Project: 1. Define

Guide to the research process required to complete the WSA Senior Project.

1. Define

research process

The first step in the research process is to define what your research is going to focus on. 

At this stage you need to explore:

  • what are my possible topics?
  • what do I know about those topics?
  • which words would be good search terms and keywords?
  • what is my research question?

See this page for:

Help with defining your research question
Directions for using the Questia Topic Finder

Within this section of the guide you will find ideas for useful resources to help you choose a research topic.  You will also find details on a number of online tools to help organize your thoughts and your work.  Explore some of the options and find the ones which suit your needs best.  See:

Using Brainstorming and Mind Maps
Identifying key words
Finding background information
Managing your time

Help with Defining Your Research Question

Questia Topic Finder

Looking for a topic?  Try using Questia's Topic Finder!

Login to Questia School, then:

  • click on MENU in the upper-right 
  • click on WRITING CENTER
  • click on 'Topic Finder' in the menu on the left

Once in Topic Finder, you can either:

  • enter in a keyword, if you have an idea in mind, and see what books and articles Questia has on your topic


  • click on the    Topic idea generator     button

Choose one of sixteen general subject areas from the drop-down menu, or for something truly random, leave it at 'All Subjects' and click the big    SPIN     button.  Three topics will come up; click on one to see the related Questia resources.


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