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Searching for Sources

Write your Question

▶️Watch a Video Tutorial on choosing research questions.

Remember, your research question should:

  • fit the requirements of the assignment (assignment length, type of argument, source type requirements)
  • Be answered with evidence from information sources (not yes/no questions)

Q: What is the effect of water pollution on child development in the United States?

Identify your Question Concepts

Library search tools work best with main ideas represented by keywords rather than complete sentences. The four W questions can help you identify main ideas.

The W Questions

  • Who: Who are you talking about?
  • What: What is are they doing or is happening?
  • Where: Where is your topic relevant? 
  • How: How is it happening?
  • When: When was information on your topic created?
  • Why: Why is your topic important?

Example Question

  • Who & What: children development
  • Where: United States
  • How: water pollution
  • When: Today (last 5 years)
  • Why: public safety

Question Concepts Become Keywords

Use the answer to the W questions to choose keywords for your topic and put AND between them to search:

Child development AND united states AND water pollution AND safety

▶️ Watch a video to learn more

Go to Part II: Advanced Searching