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HWST 491: Senior Capstone: Laying Out The Research Process

This LibGuide was created for students in Kumu April's Fall 2017 HWST 491 Senior Capstone course.

Laying Out The Research Process

  1. Develop your research topic
  2. Come up with keywords
  3. Do an Initial Search
  4. Select Resources
  5. Repeat

To develop a research question...

  • Think about something you're genuinely interested in
    • Example: Lāʻau lapaʻau
  • Ask questions to help make your topic specific: How? Why? What? Who?
    • What lāʻau lapaʻau practices are specific to wāhine?
    • Remember that "what" questions can lead to descriptive papers, "how" questions can lead to assessment papers, and "which" questions can lead to compare/contrast papers.

Now that you have your research question:

  • What lāʻau lapaʻau practices are specific to wāhine?


Develop keywords related to your topic:

  1. What are the main components of your topic?
    1. lāʻau lapaʻau
    2. ​practices
    3. wāhine
  2. Think about synonyms and related terms
    1. medicine, plants (specific), ethnobotany
    2. method, process
    3. kāne, Papa, menstrual cycle / birthing

Now that you have your research question and your search terms, it's time to start looking for resources!

Here are some SEARCH STRATEGIES to help you in your search for relevant, useful information:

  1. Use keywords to build context into your searches: hala vs. lau hala vs. lauhalavs. ulana lauhala
  2. Use quotations to search for phrases:"malama aina" vs.malama aina
  3. Use * (or sometimes ! or ?) to truncate searches: hawaii* searches for hawaiihawaiianhawaiians
  4. Use filters (e.g. date, type, subject) to narrow search results
  5. Re-order results by date, relevance, or title if needed
  6. Use Email, Print, Cite tools if needed
  7. Log-in to save your searches and save results

When you click on the link above and open the shared Google Sheet:

  1. Select a numbered tab and "rename" the tab to your group name
  2. Each person in your group will select (2) collections to explore
  3. For each collection that you are assigned to, fill in the cells with information to document your search work.
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