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Information Literacy Session 1: Search Tools and Strategies: Constructing a Research Question

ENG 102 Embedded Librarian Session: Keywords, Boolean Operators, & Search Strategies

What is a Research Question

A research question is an honest question:  What do I need to know to write this paper?  After brainstorming around a topic, you want to focus in on the aspect that really interests you and the questions that it generates for you. Remember a research question will be an open-ended question, not a yes or no question. This allows you the space to learn more about the topic and draw conclusions. Think about making your question a Why, What, or How question.

Most of the time a single paper will have multiple research questions, such as:

1. What is the history of my subject?

2. What is the social or political significance of my subject?

3. What are the controversies surrounding my topic?

4. What are the causes or effects of my subject?

5. How does one aspect of my subject relate to another aspect of my subject?

Some people do not write a research question. Instead, they use brainstorming activities to explore their topic. Please go to the next page to learn more.