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Research Skills Tutorial

This is a self-paced, non-credit course that covers research skills, critical thinking, media and internet literacy, and understanding the complexities of the modern information environment (including libraries.)

Turning A Topic Into A Research Question

Choosing your research topic

Often, your instructor will assign a broad topic related to the course content with the expectation that you will select a narrower aspect of that topic to research.

Occasionally, your instructor will leave your choice of research topic entirely up to you.

In either case, you will work from general to specific to choose a topic. Begin by considering topics covered in your course that fit the assignment. Then do a little background research on those topics to narrow your research focus (see Getting Background Information About Your Topic.) 

The following video explains how to find the perfect balance between too broad and general, and too narrow and specific. That way you are able to find enough research materials and have enough to write about, but aren't overwhelmed. 

Turning your topic into a research question and thesis statement.

Research is a form of problem solving, and the first step in problem solving is always to identify the problem. In other words, what question do you hope to answer with your research?

And once you have your research question, the next step is to reformulate it as a thesis statement. The thesis statement answers your research question in such a way that it leads into the major points that you will make in your paper. 

Accessibility Note

Please note: If you need to request accommodations with content linked to on this guide, on the basis of a disability, please contact Disability Services by emailing them at  Requests for accommodations should be submitted as early as possible to allow for sufficient planning. If you have questions, please visit the disability services website