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Marriage and the Family: Start here!

Prof. Hohl's Assignment

If you're working on your term paper for Professor Hohl's Marriage and the Family class, you've come to the right place. This guide will help you with your research and citations.

First, carefully read and reread your assignment from Professor Hohl.

Next, read the two boxes in order to 
create your thesis statement and  develop your search strategies.

Thesis Statement

Developing your thesis statement: 

  • Before you begin your search, think about your topic and what you really want to know. Choose an issue you care about! That will make your research and writing more interesting to you and to your reader.
  •  A thesis statement is an assertion about a topic. To create your thesis statement ask yourself, what do you know about your topic and what more do you want to know about it? Then take a clear, specific position, and state it in a full sentence: that's your thesis statement!
  • Here's how it works:

      The topic I'm interested in is divorce

      What I want to know about this topic is: Does divorce have long-term adverse psychological effects on children?      

      My thesis statement (my position) is: Divorce has a long-term psychological effect on children.

      Don't be afraid to revise your thesis statement if your research makes your change your position.

  • To help you find an overview of your topic and develop your thesis statement, you can look at the Controversial Issues databases that are linked under the Articles tab.

Search Strategies

Search Strategies: using keywords, truncation, and synonyms:

Relevant keywords are necessary for effective research.  Use your thesis statement to help you select useful keywords. 

You can start by taking keywords from your thesis statement, for example:

                  My Research Question with Keywords UnderlinedDivorce has a long-term psychological effect on children.

But don't stop there! Research is a process of trial and error, and often you won't get the results you want on your first attempts. There are two important ways to develop additional keywords that you should know about:

1. Use synonyms and related concepts: think of other words that mean the same or similar things as the words in your question. For example, the following words might be used: separation, marriage, impact, stressors, youth, young children, teens.

2. Use truncation: the computer will locate alternative endings for a word when you place an asterisk -- the * symbol (shift eight on the keyboard) -- at end of the root of a word. For example, if I use child* the computer will search child AND children.

When searching, try different combinations of keywords. If you get too many results (for example, in a Google search), add more words to your search; if you get too few results (for example, when searching for books), use fewer keywords.

Now you're ready to begin your research.

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Gloria Meisel