Research Guide

(Click to expand each step)

Based on information you discovered during your general search, you need to narrow your topic down.  Select one essential question about your topic that will focus your research from here on out.  You're beyond those elementary level animal reports where you listed facts and drew a nice picture.  Your essential question should be geared toward looking deeper into a specific aspect of your topic. 

An essential question is:
  • a question that requires you to develop a plan or course of action.
  • a question that requires you to make a decision.
  • a question about impact and interaction.
Some example essential questions:
  • Is it acceptable to clone human beings? (decision)
  • Which 20th Century invention has had the greatest impact on the world? (decision)
  • Which fitness strategy is best for gaining muscle mass? (plan)
  • How should I prepare for a 5k race? (plan)
  • How does tourism affect the treatment of elephants? (impact)
  • How does the protein industry affect the environment? (impact)

Want a step-by-step plan to follow?  Need help getting organized?  Confused about the research steps?  Print off your own copy of the Research Process Workbook and keep it with you throughout your research project!

Research steps developed from the Pitts/Stripling Research Model & Christopher Lehman's Energize Research Reading & Writing