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The I-LEARN Model: Identify question

Guide which describes and provides example of a learning model to support student critical thinking and research skills

Developing Your Research Question

First, choose a problem or question that can be addressed using information.

What interests you?

What is a suitable topic for your assignment?

What is a research question appropriate for the scope of your assignment?

Find Background Information

As you identify relevant keywords related to your topic, it may be helpful to find some background information to gain a good overview and better understanding of the context of your topic.

Conducting some brief background research can help you in finding additional terminology related to your topic, as well as specific events, dates, and names related to your topic.

Gale Virtual Reference Library is a collection of full-text encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources on many different subjects.

Reference Universe indexes the contents of the entire reference collection, both print and electronic, owned by UK Libraries. 

Oxford Reference Online contains concise coverage of a broad range of subjects and is particularly good for quotations and multi-language dictionaries.

Identifying Keywords

The Brainstorming Keywords worksheet below illustrates how to start thinking about keywords to use as you search.

Make a list to keep track of keywords related to your topic. Keep it handy and revise as needed as you conduct your research.

Refine Your Research Question

If you are not finding enough information, your question may be too narrow.

Consider broadening it by exploring related issues, adding another element to the topic, or expanding the area covered.

If you are finding too much information, your question may be too broad.

Consider narrowing it by time period, geographic location, or population.