What do you need to know?
A good research question is the basis for your information search. Your question should not be too broad ("What is the history of the United States?") or too specific ("How many people died at the Battle of Little Bighorn?"). It should be focused enough to guide you in a specific direction, but broad enough to not have a statistical answer. Example: "What was the influence of local terrain on the Battle of Little Bighorn?".
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A thesis statement is the sentence in your essay that tells the reader what your paper is about. Like a research question, it should be specific enough to guide your research and writing, but broad enough to allow depth of information.
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Create a concept map to help brainstorm your research topic. It's easy!
Keyword searching is an important part of your research process. By selecting the best keywords to use in your search, you will increase the relevance of your search results. Keywords are significant nouns (or very specific phrases) taken directly from your research question or thesis statement. Here is an example:
Research Question: What effect does violence in the media have on children?
Keywords: violence, media, children
You can also think of alternative terms for your keywords.
Violence: brutality, aggression, crime
Media: television, video games, movies
Children: youth, teens, kids, students
You now have an arsenal of great keywords to use in your search!
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