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Week 7: Guest lecture

Guest lecturer: Glenn Donnar

1. Finding the research topic:
• Look to your world (personal, work, cultural, social, own interests)
• Look for interesting intersections between those areas
• Think about relevance and significance, i.e. research area needs to provide a good answer!
• Does it matter?
• Can I demonstrate it?
• Is it ‘do-able’?

2. Main ideas:
• Refine your topic OR make it smaller! Most research topics are too broad – never be afraid of refining it further! This is how you find the gap!
• You will hate your project at times, but that’s okay. But still, choose carefully – something you’re interested in and that has relevance to you and the research field.
• Your topic will develop and change over time. So will your research question. It will only really be finalised in the final semester when you begin completing the project.
• Work with what’s most important.

• Use your annotated bibliography to work your way around the area.
• Keep testing/refining your own knowledge of the research. Keep testing/keep refining/keep reading into the area.
• When reading deeper into area, the gap will come to you!
• The ‘maybe topic’: i.e. “I don’t think anyone’s tested it in THAT context”… “How is the area already changing/what can be done in the future?”

3. How to develop research questions:
• Glenn’s example: Australian media responses to Madrid train bombing/how could free press change its position so quickly… etc.
• The more information you have/read, the more help this is to finding a niche/gap.
• You need to provide critical stance to others’ work (literature review). If this is too hard, look at opposing work and see how this helps!

4. Key questions:
• Can you do your project in the time given?
• Can you access the resources?
• Can you answer the question?
• How will you answer it?
• Is it significant? Does it matter? Who will it matter to?
• It is too broad? How can I refine it?


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