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LIBS 101: Evolution Assignment

Initial Research Question

Your initial research question (or topic) must be science-based and somehow connected to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Some example questions are:

  • What can I learn about how mass extinction affects evolution?
  • How did eyes evolve?
  • In what ways are humans still evolving?

3 Strategies for Developing Topic Ideas

1. Make a List

List topics that you find interesting and gather key words and concepts to help you flesh out your idea. Look for synonyms, alternate terms, and key events or people

social life modern food systems
safety regulation tainted spinach incident
smart phone technology food born illnesses
driving while texting local food vs. imports


2. Draw a Concept Map

Sketch out a concept map by hand or using a web app (, to explore the relationships between ideas.

concept map example

3. Write It Out

Write out an explanation of your topic in a sentence. Try to justify it on multiple levels:

I am studying... (state what your broad topic is)

cell phones

in order to find out... (use standard journalistic questions: who, what, where, when, but focus on why and how)

how constant use causes ongoing distracted behavior

in order to help my reader understand... (motivate your question, why does your reader need to know this)

why constant use may cause health and safety risks

Topic Ideas

Great places to look for topic ideas: