Ms. Gokturk

Writing for the 21st Century


Beginning & Organizing Your Research


You have chosen a topic (or one was assigned to you). Begin by finding articles and books that are related to your cause. Read through abstracts and look over a series of articles and print sources. Your goal today is to become familiar with the issues within your topic and define at least FIVE subtopics for your research paper.



Your task is to find at least five general subtopics within your cause. On one card, please include your name and your research topic. On another card, create a SOURCES CONSULTED card where you will begin listing the sources you consulted using the MLA format [see library handout]. On each of the five remaining cards (or more if you would like), write down the subtopic on each card you will research. These topics might include things like: statistics, defining terms, background/history, current trends/beliefs, laws, causes, challenges, specific cases/examples, future predictions or implications, government actions, attempts to make better, etc. -- but you are not limited to these. Think about your topic and find areas worthy of research!


Please hand in your subtopics by the end of the period if Ms. G did not conference with you about them. [These topics will act as the backbone to your research essay. In other words, these five areas will be sections of your research paper that elaborate on your cause.]


Print articles that you find particularly useful and do not misplace. We will refer to these after break.



Once your topics have been defined, you should use the index cards you were given and note what results you find in your research. Please be sure to follow the guidelines.

  • Each card should represent research from one of your subtopics.
  • Each card should represent research from one source.
  • Vary your sources. You may use the Internet, databases, books, documentaries, interviews, and newspapers.
  • On each card, either paraphrase or quote from your source. Where applicable, cite page numbers. HINT: on electronic sources, you won’t have a page number.
  • Use different key words when researching. You may find more information by varying your word choice. You might also find help defining subtopics this way.
  • Use the MLA style for your citations. Note that some sources give you citations, but it may be in APA format. Please use the format noted in the handout you were given.