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TH184 - Performance and Protest

Teach students to do research to create a protest performance piece

Starting a Research

Here is a step-by-step approach to starting and completing a research paper.

    Choose a topic.

    Read and keep records.

    Form a thesis.

    Create a mind map or outline.

    Read again.

    Rethink your thesis.

    Draft the body.

nbsp;   Revise.

    Add the beginning and end.

    Proofread and edit.

If you noticed, the first part of choosing a topic required you to do some background research.  Sometimes researchers select a topic, and then try to research it, often much later.

This can lead to a few problems:

    The topic is too broad, or too narrow.

    The researcher doesn’t know the specific vocabulary used to describe the topic.

    Not enough has been written on the topic to complete an assignment.

As a result, finding information can to be frustrating, and may yield results that are less than ideal.

The simple step of researching as a topic is selected can often make the entire process much easier. This can be done if you follow these steps.

    Make certain to select a topic that interests you (librarians can help with this!).

    Read some background information on your topic.

And then....

    Create a research question.

    Do a test search on your topic, to see what is out there.

    Broaden or narrow your topic as necessary.

When you are doing background research on your topic you want to consult reference sources.  These can be encyclopedias found in the library or online; and yes, in this preliminary phase of research you can use Wikipedia.  Never cite Wikipedia in an academic paper, but if you are deciding if a topic interests you, go for it.  Just remember that Wikipedia is not consistent and while one entry might be accurate another one may not be.

Developing a Research Question

While there are many ways to develop a research question and establishing a process, the one we’re going to cover today involves three simple questions:

  • What am I interested in?
  • What don’t I know about it?
  • Why do I want to know that? 

Another way to frame it is through the phrase:

I am studying ______ to find out who/how/why ______ in order to understand who/how/why ______.



Example search terms: protest art, political performance art, performance art political statement, theatre activism, theatre for social change, performance art social issues, theatrical protest, protest song, music and visual art as protest.