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SOC 310: Women's and Gender Studies (Christy Craig): Getting Started

This guide will walk you through the research process for researching women's studies from developing your topic to writing your assignment. It includes database, journals, and resources that will help you research gender, sociology, and feminist theory.

How to Form a Topic

A topic is a general inquiry you are interested in answering. It is not a statement, but a question. 

Examples: How do gender expectations influence what hobbies we develop? How does social media impact the American perception of genderqueer identities? Why are women at a greater risk of sexual violence and exploitation?

 Steps to formulate a topic:

Read your assignment and note any requirements.

  • Is there a required page length?
  • How many sources do you need?
  • Does the paper have to be in a specific format like APA?
  • Are there any listed goals for the topic, such as synthesizing different opinions, or applying a theory to a real-life example?

Formulate a general idea.

  • Look at your syllabus or course schedule for broad topic ideas.
  • Think about reading assignments or class lectures that you found interesting.
  • Talk with your professor or a librarian. 
  • Check out social media and see what has been trending that is related to your course. 
  • Read and watch the news to see if there is anything going on related to your course. 

Do some background research on your general idea.

  • Read an encyclopedia entry.
  • See what your course notes and textbook say about the subject.
  • Google it. 

Mind map it.

  • Video on how to do a mind map. 

Write out your topic question & reread the assignment criteria.

  • Can you answer your question well in the number of pages required? 
  • Does your topic still meet the requirements of the paper? Ex: is the question still about the sociology of gender studies and women?
  • Is the topic too narrow to find research? 

Resources - Background Information