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DIY How To

Creating a Research Strategy

Brainstorm Your Topic

1. Think about the 5 W’s – who, what, when, where, and why.

These questions are important because they cannot have a simple "yes" or "no" answer. This is how you begin to think about keywords for your topic. For example, if you think about "when," are you referring to the past, the present, or the future?




2. Use reference sources to get an overview of your topic, and to identify an interesting question and keywords.

Developing a Research Question

Moving from a topic to defining the question that you want your research to answer.
1. Ask questions that help to refine your topic. Try using these prompts:


Topic:  The Montgomery Bus Boycott
What do I know? What don't I know? What do I want to know?
I know that the bus boycott received national attention. I don't know how much this influenced the Civil Rights movement as a whole. How significant was the Montgomery Bus Boycott in shaping the Civil Rights movement as a whole?
3. Concept maps:

Try using CREDO concept map to:

  • focus your topic and
  • identify keywords