Skip to Main Content

FREN 3500 (Murphy / Kilbane): Get Started

The class focusses on the reading and discussion of current events in the French-speaking world.

Evaluating Information

  • Currency

    • When was it published? In what year? Since your are dealing with current events, the year of publication is relevant.

  • Authority 

    • Who is the author? is the author an expert on the subject?

    • What newspaper published the piece?

      • ​Is it recognized for its quality and objectivity?

      • Does the newspaper tend to be biased?

  • Objectivity

    • What point of view is the author presenting? It the author partial or impartial?

    • Is it considered an opinion, investigative or analysis piece? 

  • Scope (coverage)

    • What is it about?

    • Is the article general or covers the topic in depth? A long-form journalism article would cover the topic more comprehensively. 

  • Audience

    • Who is the audience?

      • In the case of newspapers, the audience is usually the public. However, some newspapers and magazines have a target audience. For example, La Croix is a daily newspaper in France that has a  Roman Catholic orientation.

Newspapers: Investigative vs Opinion vs Analysis

  • An opinion article expresses the thoughts or opinions of the author. The author may want to convince you of something but not necessarily inform you.
  • An analysis article explores a topic from the point of view of an expert on this topic. The author will probably use data to corroborate information.
  • An investigative article is usually written by a group of journalists, who investigates a topic at length. 


Research Question

Developing Research Questions: Your Scope & Feasibility

An important aspect of determining your research question is scope. What is feasible for you to answer within your time, your access, your economic, and other constraints? Have you chosen a question that acknowledges those limitations.

Mountain Top By Alice Noir for the Noun ProjectTips 

  • Many of us start with a very broad question in mind. Try these steps to narrow:
    • ​State your research interest
    • Think of a narrower scope
    • Brainstorm questions 
    • Pick the question you are most interested in
    • Rephrase the question to be narrower in scope
    • Repeat as needed


  • Paris in the 19th century
  • Paris and fashion
  • Rise of French dress designers and first fashion house
  • How did Paris become known as a capital of fashion? example question provided by Professor Kilbane.

For more information see Arriving to a Research Question and Asking Questions 

Fall 2021: Libraries hours, service updates

All five campus libraries are now open. Read about open hours and other important service updates.