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ENG101: College Writing (Nadeau): Research Tips & Thesis Questions

Research Tips and Thesis Questions

Below are some tips for coming up with your trend and developing research questions for your paper and proving your trend exists.

When I started to look for a trend to use as an example in this class (in 2016), I stumbled across the trend of using Ayahuasca, and ancient ritual herb used primarily in South America for psychic healing. I decided to search that topic because I had never heard of it before, but in the space of a few weeks, the topic appeared on three TV shows that I watch. This piqued my curiosity - what is this, why hadn't I heard of it before, why I am hearing about it all over the place all of a sudden - is this a new trend?

Here are some of the stories about Ayahuasca from a quick Google search. Read them. What words jump out at you that indicate that Ayahuasca use is an upward trend? Note the dates on the scientific articles, what does that indicate? Do you see other trends here?

Ayahuasca: A strong Cup of Tea - 2014
The Drug of Choice for the Age of Kale - 2016

The Brutal Mirror - 2019
Why do People Take Ayahuasca? - 2014
Can Psychedelic Ayahuasca Help With Depression? - 2019
Introducing Ayahuasca - 2019
Micro-Dose Anyone? The Journeying Craze Takes Off - 2018
A Return of Psychedelic Medications? - 2016

Tips for your Causal Analysis

Tips on choosing a trend:

  • Brainstorm a few trends, then do some quick search to see what kind of data is available.
  • Write a thesis question that is clear, complex, and focused.
  • Locate reliable and credible statistics.
  • Consider the cause and effect- ask yourself open-ended questions

For this demonstration:

(QUALITATIVE) Thesis question: What is the trend regarding Ayahuasca use by Americans during the last ten years, what caused these changes, and how does this change impact eco tourism? (Or, alternately, how has the trend impacted scientific and medical research on the effects of Ayahuasca?)

(QUANTITATIVE) Thesis question: The trend in school shootings (or mass shootings) seems to have increased over the past 20 years. What has caused this increase? Can the trend be stopped? How?


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