Argumentative Research Essay

Preliminary Research

Now that you have identified one or two questions, choose the one that you feel most interested in, and circle that number in your packet. You will spend some time doing some very basic research to determine if this is the topic that you will ultimately research in more detail.

The first place that most people start their research is on the internet. In order to make our internet research more effective, we can use some strategies to increase the likelihood that we get the results that we are looking for.

SCC Library Tools

Before you begin, you should take a look at the SCC Library webpage (SCC Library Homepage):

  • click on the find/search tab
  • click on the Guides and Tutorials link. 

There are many resources on this page that you may find helpful as you work through this packet. 

Smart Search

In order to start your research, first watch this video from the Tutorials section on the SCC Smart Search feature:

Smart Search Video

In order to search effectively, one important method is to search using keywords. Keywords are simply the main ideas that you are looking for.


Watch this video on Selecting and Using Keywords:

Using Keywords

Take another look at your question. The words that express the main idea of your sentence are your keywords.  Look at some of the keywords in your question. These will be the basis for your preliminary research. There is no need to type your entire question into your search bar. You can search by typing in your key words. In our example, the key words are in bold: “Should junk food be banned from schools?” You can also use synonyms for these words.

Look at your research question, and list your key words for your preliminary research in your packet.

Begin Some Basic Research

Now, open a new browser window and do a quick internet search for these terms.  Google is a good place to start, and later, you will explore several other types of sources. Based on your Google search, do you find that you have plenty of results, or was it difficult to find results for your query? Look at the websites for some of your results. A quick review will allow you to see if there is enough information on your topic, and may allow you to further narrow it down. Spend a few minutes reading about your preliminary research question. Think about your question and what you have read. Now you will make any necessary revisions to your question and decide upon what you will write your paper about. Keep in mind that as you get into your research, you may need to further refine your question, but for now, write your research question in your packet.

Checkpoint #1

If you haven't already done so, meet with an instructor now to have your research packet checked and signed off for the first checkpoint. You should also have your instructor sign off on your student guide for research packet #1.

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