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Advanced Beverage Management (MWBM-520)

MPS Research & Writing Guide

The MPS Guide to Writing & Research provides instruction and resources for graduate-level writing skills.  

The guide includes a self-paced MPS Graduate Writing Tutorial that will introduce you to the academic writing process and give practical advice for strategies and techniques.  

Online Resources for Writing & Research

Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)


Research Planning & Topic Selection


Developing a Research Proposal is a process that involves conducting preliminary research into sources before writing a proposal or thesis statement. Let's call it "presearch"

Research as Inquiry - We don't start with an answer; we start with a question.

  • Research into sources is a form of exploration into what is known and written about a topic.
  • Reading various sources leads to discovery
  • You may, and probably will (and, possibly should) change your topic as you review sources.

Your goal is to identify a topic that is Viable and Manageable.

Viable - there exists published scholarly sources addressing your topic or a closely related topic.
Manageable - there is not an overwhelming number of articles or books on the topic covering a wide variety of sub-topics.

In other words - not too big, not too small, just right. But, you have to start somewhere and many researchers get a kind of writer's block trying to come up with words to start their research. So...

Start Big, Start Small - Just Start!

As you conduct research and review your results, you will discover themes and issues that are of interest to you, that inspire you.

Narrow or Broaden - Use the results, the lists of articles and other sources, to help you narrow or broaden your topic, as necessary.

You will find concepts and terms, subject headings and keywords, to help adjust your search process to make your research more targeted and relevant.

Context - you don't need to find an exact match to your topic proposal, but you do need to find information about the issues that impact your topic.

Break down the individual components of your question or thesis and search for information about each issue and identify the resources that best help you understand the issues and support your proposal.


  • Start with books on your general topic. Gather background information and overviews of the various issues.
  • Identify keywords and subject terms.
  • Use Library Databases and Google Scholar to find articles (set up Google Scholar to link to CIA Library full-text articles.)
  • Use academic, professional, government resources for additional information, such as data, statistics, and industry research.
  • Citation chasing - look at the references of a book or article you are using. Since these references were used to support the research of the publication, they may be useful for you as well.
  • Contact your librarian for assistance.


Other Library Guides for Graduate Students:


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