Strategy: Get started
Research inquiry is like an exploration -- it helps us learn, understand, and contribute to our worlds. Because the experience often includes unexpected twists and turns, try to remain open, curious, and persistent. Let’s get started. To begin your critical inquiry, you will identify an issue, a topic, and a set of questions about which you are curious.
Choose Your Topic of Inquiry
Inquiry is a process of posing questions, seeking perspectives, and building knowledge. The first step is to identify a topic or issue that matters to you. You may start with a very broad and open area of interest.
Tips for inspiration:
- Review textbooks from your favorite classes
- Scan newspapers and magazines
- Browse online media
- Browse background sources
Impact of social media on our lives
Establish Your Topic Knowledge
Brainstorm key aspects of your topic: who, what, where, when, why, how.
List what you already know about your topic.
List what you need to know about your topic.
- What does [key concept related to my topic] mean?
- What are the facts about [my topic]?
- What are the various features of [my topic]?
- What are the component parts of [my topic]?
- What are the types of [my topic]?
- What is the present status of [my topic]?
- What are the causes of [my topic]?
- What are the consequences of [my topic]?
- How is [my topic] like or unlike [related concept]?
- How is [my topic] made or done?
- How did [my topic] happen?
- When and where did [my topic] happen?
- Who cares about [my topic]?
- Why does [my topic] matter now?
Tip: Try mind mapping or other brainstorming strategies.
Do Some Background Research & Reading
Read encyclopedic or overview sources to better understand the topic
Note key terms, key events, key people, key places
Identify subtopics or related topics
Tip: Look for cues and leads as your read. Asks questions as your read.
Check out this background source. Click on the highlighted text to view annotations and tips.
After reading, you may find a more focused research interest.
Try searching: "your topic keyword" AND encyclop*
You may also try searching dictionary, handbook, or guide.