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Associate Level Material
Appendix B

Research Writing and the Research Plan

In this course, you follow the same basic writing process you have used in other writing courses: prewriting, writing, rewriting, and proofreading. For a review of the writing process, review chapter 8 of Writing for Success.

Research writing, however, requires higher-level critical-thinking skills and research that is more detailed. Using a systematic process is important because your research and writing will be stronger, more convincing, and better organized.

Select a Topic

Some courses allow you to select your own topics for papers, while others assign topics. This course allows you to choose your own topic, because learning how to select a good research topic improves your critical and creative thinking skills.

As you consider a topic for your research paper, use the following criteria:

• The topic should not be too narrow or too broad. You want a topic that provides enough research to discuss it thoroughly. Conversely, you do not want a topic that is so broad that you have too many sources to sift through, causing you to lose focus.

If you want to choose a topic, such as health insurance, for an online search, just the words health insurance produce many sources because several branches exist within that topic. If you want to discuss health insurance and reform and argue that the government must assume more responsibility to help change the current system then that topic would be more specific and would help narrow your focus.

• The topic needs to have enough research to support it. Sometimes, a topic might be too narrow, which may result in insufficient information. If you are interested in roller coasters, for example, you may want to write on the psychology of why people choose to ride or not ride roller coasters. You may, however, have a hard time finding enough subject matter and research on which to base your writing. You might need...
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