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CMST 213 Social Media (Neffenger)

What's in the "Introduction"?

The Introduction is where you will introduce your reader to the problem, issue, or question you are studying. It is also where you will share what previous research or information you have located through your library research that provides context for the social media research question you want to ask.

In the Introduction you will:

  • Identify the purpose of your survey. Identify the problem or question you want to investigate and why it matters. After identifying your question and its importance, formally express the purpose of your survey clearly and concisely.
  • Summarize the 'literature review.' The "literature review" is a summary of the relevant outside information and academic studies you consulted to set up your survey. It shows a progression of other useful library research (or web research) results on the topic --you usually summarize starting with the oldest research article first.
    • The literature review helps your reader understand how your survey connects to past original research others have done. Only include information that a reader would need to know in order to understand the purpose or method of your original research. Do not forget to cite any and all sources you use in APA style-- parenthetical in-text citations, and a full References list at the end.
  • End the introduction by stating the question you are exploring with your survey. Usually your research question or hypothesis will be a single sentence.

How to build a search using some of our library databases

You will enter keywords connected by "AND." I recommend entering one phrase or keyword per line. If your search does not return the results you want to see, try removing a term (to make it broader) or changing one or more terms:

Examples of a search for "communication and social media and emotion" in three databases
EBSCO Academic Search Premier sample search for "communication and social media and emotions" in EBSCO
ProQuest Combined Databases sample search for "communication and social media and emotions" in ProQuest
Communication and Mass Media (Gale) sample search for "communication and social media and emotions" in Gale


More information

Where to find studies for the literature review

Or, if you want to search a more focused collection:

Google Scholar logo

Mapping a Research Question with the 5Ws

Mapping Out Your Topic

Before you start researching or writing, start by recording what you know and what you need to know. This will save you time in the long run!

Step 1:
  • Start with what you know. Use a Topic Map to chart out key players, issues, terms, and more.
Step 2:
  • Use keywords from your Topic Map as search terms to find academic encyclopedia (reference) articles on your topic. Use reference articles to build an understanding of your topic: who is involved, what are the issues, why is this happening, (when) historical context, where is this happening, and how is it being addressed?

Review the image of the chart below, and use the attached link at the bottom to download a copy of this brainstorming table that you can use.

(Click on the image to enlarge)

image of brainstorming chart (download a copy of the doc below)