For your essay assignment, you'll need to identify and engage with a variety of sources - imaginative, popular, and scholarly - to address a research question about the connections between our contemporary cultural ideas about the wild and/or wilderness and the present state of the environment.
The resources and strategies listed on this course guide are intended to help you get started.
As you start developing your research question and thinking about what kind of research you'll need to do, you're going to need to dig into a topic, and figure out what aspect of that topic you are going to engage with. As with most research projects, you'll need to learn a lot more about your topic than you can ultimately fit into your finished piece. How will you decide what's most important?
Let's practice together. Skim the article below and consider:
A concept map is:
Use a concept map to:
You can create a concept map with pencil and paper or use one of these free online tools:
Concept mapping is a great strategy to use as you develop a research question.
Ask yourself: what do I already know about my topic? what am I curious about? what kind of information do I need, and where am I likely to find it?
From a disciplinary perspective, think about what kind(s) of scholars might investigate your topic, the kinds of questions scholars and experts in a particular field might ask, how they would ask those questions and what evidence they would use to make their argument.
Finally, consider what you know about the resources available to you and where might be most fruitful for you to begin your search. Are you looking for primary sources, such as newspaper articles? Do you need contemporary news articles or historical ones? If you're following up on the scholarly conversation around your topic, do you need to look for work by historians? Scientists? Sociologists?
The process is simple: start with the subject of your research question in the center, then:
Do some background research on your topic to help create a concept map. Feel free to consult the Internet, an encyclopedia, course readings, or a librarian to help explore a topic. It may be through this background research that you will stumble upon a gap that you want to explore! Keep revising your map as you learn more about your topic.