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Writing 10: College Reading and Composition Pre-Health (Lovas)

Step 1 - Your Research Question

Coming up with a research question can be challenging, but it's all part of the research process. In some cases, your instructor may give you a topic or in other cases, you may join a lab that is already working on a project with a defined research question, but if you are on your own, this page will give you some guidance.

Part of coming up with a manageable research question is also knowing what your "information need" is. In other words, what kinds of sources do you need to help you answer your question. See the page for step 4, "Read & Evaluate" for more info about determining if a source is scholarly or popular.

Tip: Remember that the research process is non-linear and sometimes messy. You will need to search for and read (or at least skim) some information sources to know if your research question is going to be manageable.  Skip to step 4 for some reading tips!

PIcking Your Topic IS Research (Video Tutorial)

North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries, 3:10

Video: Selecting & Using Keywords

What advice does the narrator provide about selecting and using keywords in your searches?

* from Darrell W. Krueger Library, Winona State University (play until 2:50)

Poll Question: Identify Keywords

What are the keywords you would select for this research question? Select your answer and click Submit.

How can healthcare providers ensure good care for non-English-speaking patients?
healthcare, patients, English: 4 votes (13.79%)
healthcare providers, primary language, care: 21 votes (72.41%)
primary language, patients, nurses: 2 votes (6.9%)
English, language, doctors: 2 votes (6.9%)
Total Votes: 29

Keywords & Synonyms

Here is a chart with keywords and potential synonyms based on a sample research question:

RQ: Is there a connection between food deserts and increased need for community healthcare centers?
food deserts food access healthy food fast food  
healthcare centers health clinic doctor's office emergency medical services hospital
need health impacts dietary-related diseases nutrients