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Comm 200: Argumentation and Dialogue

Library Session Prep Work

Topic Exploration

Image of the research process, which includes: 1, getting the assignment; 2, choosing a topic; 3, conducting background research to understand the topic; 4, focusing the topic; 5, analyzing your topic by crafting an argument and supporting it with peer reviewed journal articles as evidence; 6, drafting your paper; 7, revising the paper; 8, turning it in; and 9 reflecting on your research process. Topic exploration comes after you have chosen a large topic area, but before you dive into your background research. Spending a bit of time learning about the various components of your topic can help you understand your topic better and save you time in the long run.


Topic exploration can provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of your topic and give you a basic vocabulary of the topic that will help you in later searching. One of the best places to start is Wikipedia. Most Wikipedia entries include basic facts (who, what, where, when, why and how) along with vocabulary and references. While we strongly recommend that you start with Wikipedia, it won't be one of the references in your reference list. What you learn in a Wikipedia entry will be too general to be cited as a source.