Assessing the scope and feasibility of first-year students' research paper topics

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This study applied a content analysis methodology in two ways to evaluate first-year students' research topics: a rubric to examine proposed topics in terms of scope, development, and the "researchability" of the topic, as well as textual analysis, using ATLAS.ti, to provide an overview of the types of subjects students select for a persuasive research essay. Results indicated that students struggle with defining an appropriate and feasible focus for their topics and that they often select topics related to education, health, and the environment. These findings were used to implement a new information literacy instruction model that better supports student topic development. © 2016 Erin Rinto, Melissa Bowles-Terry, and Ariel J. Santos.

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