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Prof. Centrone; Eng. 101 SUMMER 2020: Developing a Research Question and Search Strategy

Developing a Research Question

  • Understand the assignment!     
  • What are the requirements?
  • Use analytical thinking and strong arguments.

Developing a Thesis:

Questions to consider while doing your research:

               What is the purpose of the assignment?

               What kind of information will you need to find?

               What types of sources will you need?

               How will you search for them?

               Where will you find these sources?

               Why is this topic important?

               Why would your readers be interested in this topic?

               How will you convince them?

               How does your topic connect to present day conditions in society?

Develop a Search Strategy

Search Strategies: using keywords, truncation, and synonyms:

Relevant keywords are necessary for effective research. You can start by taking keywords from your thesis statement.

There are other ways to develop additional keywords.

1. Use synonyms and related concepts

  • Global warming OR climate change OR greenhouse gas
  • Teens OR teenagers OR adolescents OR high school students
  • College OR university
  • Marijuana OR cannabis
  • Vaping OR e-cigarettes OR electronic cigarettes

Think of other words that mean the same or similar things as the words in your question. It can help to brainstorm before you begin your search.

Look at the subject terms in your search results and see if you can use any of those.

2. Use truncation: the computer will locate alternative endings for a word when you place an asterisk -- the * symbol -- at end of the root of a word.

For example, typing crim* will yield results for:

            Crime, crimes, criminal, criminals, criminology, criminality‚Äč