Veganism and its Effects on Climate Change
To learn and understand how research professionals work, you will conduct both primary and secondary research on educational, cultural, environmental, economic, technological, social, political, or ethical issues. Other topic choices may receive low scores from the professor. You will summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of the research sources alongside the data you collect. Then you will design a project and engage in the research process. The end result will be an 8–10-page literature review based on a combination of the primary research data and the secondary sources. (Not including cover page, references, and appendices with graphs and images.)
There are hundreds or even thousands of articles and books on most areas of study. The narrower your research questions, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to answer those questions. You will not be expected to read everything available on the topic, but you will make your work easier if you first limit your scope with a good set of research questions.
Remember that the more focused your topic, the better the quality of your work (and thus the higher your grade!). Do not rely on general topics such as “feminism” or “child abuse.” These are good starting points for research that can then be made more interesting, novel, and meaningful.
As you are formulating your research questions, do some preliminary library research to see what other researchers have to say about your question. Good databases to start with are LexisNexis (non-scholarly sources) and Academic Search Complete (scholarly sources) because these two databases index more articles than any other databases. Check the Statistical Abstract of the United States and US Almanac for statistics as well. Avoid sources that you randomly found on the internet. You will need 7-10 sources for your project. Your instructor will give you guidelines about the number and kind of sources permitted.
You will also need to conduct primary research, which is the collection of data or information that does not already exist in a library or website. This is original research that you design yourself in response to one or more of your research questions. You can collect data through surveys, observation, and/or interviews that answer your research question. The more data points (answers) you have, the more robust are your findings. Your instructor will give you specific instructions about finding and analyzing sources, working together in research teams (if applicable), and how to handle your data.
Depending on your topic, sources should include:
Scholarly journal articles;
Statistical resources, such as data from an official government resource or reputable organization (EPA, DOT, Census, CDC, NIH, UN, Statistical Abstract of the United States, etc.);
Magazine or newspaper articles from high quality sources such as Business Week,
National Geographic, NY Times, Chicago Tribune;
Broadcast media such as NPR, PBS, BBC;
Specialty dictionaries and handbooks (Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, World
Do NOT cite: Wikipedia, general knowledge encyclopedias, general dictionaries, Opposing Viewpoints, Pro/Con, Current Controversies, etc.
You must maintain third person voice throughout, use APA formatting, and the sections of your literature review should include:
o A short, one or two-paragraph summary of your research questions and your findings (no more than 150 words). You should write this last.
o General background information that prompted the research.
o A clear statement of purpose.
o Stated research questions (3-4). Remember that more specific questions allow
for more specific answers, and this improves the focus immensely. They must be
strong enough to push the entire project forward. These questions should appear in bullet list format.
o A thesis statement.
Review of literature (the bulk of your project).
o Blend a discussion of your primary and secondary research findings into the Literature Review. Base this blend on a discussion of ideas in response to the research questions, rather than the individual sources.
Be sure to name your primary research and cite it as you would any other source.
A discussion of your 3-4 research questions in the order you presented them.
Your own research as one of the sources.
o Provide a discussion of your results and conclusions.
o Tie your research to your other sources.
At least one graphic image embedded in the text, including but not limited to, a table, graph, or chart (any type). These can be from your own research or from the literature.
Be sure to label this graphic/image and discuss its relevance to the question it intends to answer.
In this project, it is vital that you do NOT take sides or show any bias as you discuss all sides of the issue. When discussing the sources that you have found, think of yourself as the mediator in the debate—the voice for both sides, not just one. When discussing the literature, explore the ideas as they (the sources) present them, not what you think about them.
Be sure to include a Reference Page and use in-text citations in the report itself. Every graphic should be labeled as a Figure or a Table and given a consecutive number: Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, Figure 2, etc. Caption every graphic image.
Key Elements Checklist:
Informative, NOT argumentative
Provide 3-4 research questions
Include one form of primary research (interview, survey, observational).
Include one visual representation of research (chart, graph, table).
Answer your research questions with multiple perspectives