Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

WRD 110: Composition & Communication I

First course in a two-course sequence designed to engage students in composing and communicating ideas using speech, writing and visuals.

Welcome!

This guide will help you find library resources appropriate for your WRD 110 research.

Use the Ask Us service if you have questions about the library or doing library research.

 Ask Us icon

Guide for Developing a Research Question

Refer to this guide as you develop your research topic. Use background information to help you understand your topic and provide context.

Developing a Research Topic

Once you have selected an initial topic, the next step is to develop research questions. To begin:

  • Write down what you already know or don't know about the topic.
  • Using the information you wrote down, develop questions you'd like to answer when doing your research.
    • Use probing questions such as why? how? what if? should?
    • Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no.

The one minute video below provides more tips.

Find Background Information

Research topics are often formed from a vague or general idea. Background information is used for providing definitions, historical background, or context, and for enlarging your initial idea. Begin with Gale Virtual Reference Library to quickly locate information on your topic or to help you focus your topic idea.

Developing Keywords

When you have a topic in mind, it's a good idea to start thinking about words you might use in your search for information related to your topic. The video and tips below provide more information.

Before you can begin searching for information in a print or online resource, you need to identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can be found easily by scanning:

  • Your initial research questions,
  • Encyclopedia and other articles used when conducting background research,
  • Bibliographies found at the end of books and articles.

If you are still struggling, then try these suggestions:

  • Use a thesaurus to identify synonyms.
  • Find pictures related to your topic, then describe the picture.
  • Brainstorm keywords with a librarian, your instructor, or a friend.