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These "step" pages have been adapted from that of Johnson & Wales University Library (Denver Campus) as well as from the Research & Learning Services Department of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Stafford Library has received permission to use and adapt these pages.
Developing Research Questions
Once you have selected an initial topic, the next step is to develop research questions. To begin:
Write down what you already know or don't know about the topic.
Using the information you wrote down, develop questions you'd like to answer when doing your research.
Use probing questions such as why? how? what if? should?
Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no.
Example: Endangered Species Act
What do or don't I know about the Endangered Species Act (ESA)?
I know it's a law that protects animals, and their habitats, that are in danger of extinction. I believe the law only protects habitats that are within the U.S. boundaries. I know at one point bald eagles and grizzly bears were on the list, but I thought they had been removed. I know there has been a lot of controversy recently about adding polar bears to the list. I don't what it takes for an animal to be removed from the list and I don't know what the penalties are for violating this act.
What was the Endangered Species Act (ESA) designed to protect -- animals only or ecosystems too?
What animals/habitats outside of the United States boundaries are covered by the act?
What other countries have legislation to protect animals/habitats?
What animals are currently on the endangered species list?
How does an animal get added/removed from the list?
What penalities are imposed on those who violate the act?