Skip to main content

ENG W131: Reading, Writing, & Inquiry

Consider the Scope of your Question

If your question has an easy "yes" or "no" answer, it's probably not a research question. Similarly, if your topic would require tremendous background knowledge, experience, or collection of lots of data, you may not have chosen a feasible question. Your research question should be narrow enough to work on in the time that you have during your semester and broad enough to to be able to locate supporting information ("sources").

Now is the time to talk with your instructor if you have doubts about the amount of work it will take to investigate your question. 

Types of Sources

Before diving right into a search, stop and take a moment to consider what type of resource you want to find. Do you need a book? A scholarly article? Do you need a blog written by or YouTube interview of an expert? Do you need raw data? Next, think about where that type of information might be found. Will a simple internet search locate what you need, or do you need another tool? Use the chart below to think about where you might find the information you need. If you're not sure where to start, this would be a great moment for you to contact me! 

Types of Sources infographic

Additionally, you may need to think in terms of primary and secondary sources. For more on that, see the information below on interviews and the infographic. 

Next, I'll give you some of the most common search tools below and some tips, but keep in mind that these are not one-stop shopping, nor are they one-size-fits-all. 

Tutorial 2 - Your Research Question