1. Develop a Topic
- Develop research questions
- Identify keywords
- Read background information
- Refine the topic
2. Research questions
- Write down what you already know or don’t know about the topic.
- Use that information to develop questions.
- Use probing questions. (why? what if? how?when?)
- Avoid “yes” and “no” questions.
From “Developing Research Questions.” Research Process: A Step-by-Step Guide. Johnson & Wales University Library, 2013.
Before you can begin searching for information, you need to identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can be easily be found by scanning:
- Your research questions
- Articles found from background research
- Bibliographies found at the end of books and articles
From “Identify Keywords.” Research Process: A Step-by-Step Guide. Johnson & Wales University Library, 2013.
Keyword Tutorial (From Johnson & Wales University Library.)
4. Background Information
- Provides a good overview of the topic if you are unfamiliar with it
- Helps identify important facts — terminology, dates, events, history, organizations, etc.
- Can help refine your topic
- Leads to bibliographies which provide additional sources of information
From “Finding Background Information.” Research Process: A Step-by-Step Guide. Johnson & Wales University Library, 2013.
Resources for Background Research
Databases often include reference articles, news stories and academic resources
eBooks and books have chapters that provide general overviews
Wikipedia – Yes! It’s a good place to start to read about a topic
Tip: While reading for background information keep an eye out for additional resources or scholarly works that you may need later.