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BCOR 101: Genetics - Preston (Fall 2022)

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Search Tips

One of the hardest tasks when starting research in a new area is identifying keyword terms appropriate for your topic.

Before you start searching:

  1. write down your main research question
  2. brainstorm related key ideas or concepts and their synonyms

Using A Topic to Generate Research Questions

Research requires a question for which no ready answer is available. What do you want to know about a topic? Asking a topic as a question (or series of related questions) has several advantages:

  1. Questions require answers. A topic is hard to cover completely because it typically encompasses too many related issues; but a question has an answer, even if it is ambiguous or controversial.

    TOPIC: GMOs and human health
    QUESTION: What impact do GMOs have on human health?
  2. Questions give you a way of evaluating the evidence. A clearly stated question helps you decide which information will be useful. A broad topic may tempt you to stash away information that may be helpful, but you're not sure how. A question also makes it easier to know when you have enough information to stop your research and draft an answer.
  3. A clear open-ended question calls for real research and thinking. Asking a question with no direct answer makes research and writing more meaningful to both you and your audience. Assuming that your research may solve significant problems or expand the knowledge base of a discipline involves you in more meaningful activity of community and scholarship.


Sample Research Question

Sample research question: What impact do GMOs have on human health?

Concept 1: GMOs

  • ‚Äčbroad: genetically modified organisms, genetically engineering organisms, genetically modified foods, transgenic plants, pharma crops
  • specific: golden rice, Bt corn, Flavr Savr tomato 

Concept 2: human health

  • broad: human development, nutrition, disease
  • specific: cancer, food allergy, toxicity, antibiotic resistance

Concept 3: impact

  • broad: benefits, advantage, disadvantage, detriment

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