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UGS 303: Art, (Your) Money, and the Nation / Bonin-Rodriguez

Choosing a topic is research

Starting points

You're exploring broad topics - perhaps works or trends - and pulling out keywords related to:

  • controversies - why do people care and what are they arguing about?
  • people - these could be scholars or critics (hint: take a look at promising leads in the references)
  • unfamiliar terms, works and concepts - often the most promising leads are what one might call 'bycatch'. This is when you set out to find one specific thing, but you catch a bunch of new and strange things instead. These may be conversations to investigate because, often, they are coming up in your search results for a good reason.
  • dead ends and forks in the road - sometimes your first idea is not your best idea - what initially made you curious was a dead end. But rarely did you not learn something along the way. As you learn more about your initial topic, be ready to give up on it and pursue new leads.

Interview yourself about your topic

  • Why am I interested in this topic?
    • Who writes about my topic and what do they have to say?
    • If no one is writing about my specific topic (this happens all the time!), what theme or similar work can I investigate in order to draw parallels about my topic?
  • What does my topic have to do with art?
    • What expertise am I consulting in this area?
  • What does my topic have to do with money?
    • What expertise am I consulting in this area?
  • What does my topic have to do with the nation?
    • What expertise am I consulting in this area?

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