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History of Electronic Media: MSP 4296

Research help for the course, MSP 4296: History of Electronic Media.

Choose a Topic

Choosing a manageable, interesting topic can be hard. Try getting your initial ideas out by using these statements adapted from Wayne Booth's The Craft of Argument so you can move from topic to question to argument.

(TOPIC) I am trying to learn about __________________________________________________________

(QUESTION) Because I want to find out (what/where/who/why/whether/how) ________________________

(SIGNIFICANCE) In order to help my reader understand ________________________________________

Explore Different Viewpoints & Get Topic Ideas

Individual thinkingThink about topics that interest you. To generate some ideas, try the sources below. They offer background information on current events and controversial topics. And, they give both sides of an issue, so you can develop a better understanding of the topic.

Get Background Info

Individual looking up informationNeed to look up a name, place, term, or event?  The sources below contain many different kinds of encyclopedias and dictionaries and are excellent starting points for getting an overview on your topic as well as possible search terms to use later. Try them.

Find Quick Bios

silhouettes of peopleThese databases offer brief overviews of individuals and, in some cases, links to recent news articles about individuals.

Video Tutorials on Choosing a Topic

Focus Your Topic into a Research Question

Hand writing where, when, how, what, who, and why on a board

When you have chosen a topic, it's time to ask some questions. 

Applying the 5 W's -- who, what, when, where, why, and how -- to your topic can help you begin to find a more focused issue within that topic that will work well for your assignment.

Visualize Your Topic

Try visualizing your topic to explore all of the different angles, ideas, and key concepts related to your topic. This is a good brainstorming exercise and can also help focus your topic into a research question.

The tools below can help you visualize your topic.