Research is about inquiry. Inquiry involves exploring ideas and information to make new discoveries, and it starts with asking questions.
One person was very concerned about air pollution.
Her general statement of purpose was this: I want to learn about air pollution.
Her essential question became this: What can be done to stop air pollution?
She read some background information, and these are a few of her focus questions: What makes (contributes to) air pollution? Why is air pollution bad? What are some of the ways that air pollution is being controlled?
(Credit to Oregon School Library Information System)
What information are you looking for? Think about the keywords and questions you might have.
What interests me about this?
What do I already know and believe? (Share prior knowledge and beliefs)
What do the words/phrases about my topic mean? (Clarify language; “guess”, then find definitions)
What do I want to know more about?
What questions do I have? (Exercise curiosity)
How could I find out more about this? (Brainstorm ways/sources to answer your questions)
When you are reading non-fiction books for information:
1. Skim the article by reading the headings and first sentence of each paragraph.
2. Generate questions (who, what, where, what, how) that you think the article might be able to answer.
3. Scan the article by reading and highlighting only the specific information that you need to answer your questions.
4. Put all the details of the article together to answer your question.