Skip to Main Content

HISTORY 1FF3 - Introduction to North American Environmental History

Evaluate Your Research Question

When deciding your research question think about:

  • What type of information do I need to answer this question?
  • What sources have the information that I am looking for?
  • Where can I find these source and can I access them?

The Stages of Developing a Research Question

1. Pick a topic

⇒     ⇒     ⇒     ⇒

        2. Narrow the topic

        ⇒     ⇒     ⇒     ⇒

                3. List some questions

                ⇒     ⇒     ⇒     ⇒

                        4. Pick a question

                        ⇒     ⇒     ⇒     ⇒

                                5. Focus the question



Research as Inquiry

When choosing a research question consider:

  • Are you interested?
  • Is it relevant?
  • Is it important?


Gather background research on a topic of your choice.

Frame it: 

  • What is the discussion on your topic?
  • What do you already know?
  • What needs to be explored further?


  • Is the question too broad or narrow?
  • Can it be answered?


Choosing an Essay Topic

This video describes how to come up with a research topic, or research question, for an essay. (2:32)

Transcript (PDF) | Transcript (.docx)

Choosing Keywords

This video explains how to choose keywords for database searching when doing research. (2:43)

Transcript (PDF) | Transcript (.docx)

Describe the Research Topic: Consider phrasing your topic as a question to guide your research. What are the main concepts/themes/theories that you are interested in exploring? Example: How does the media cover student protests?  Identify Main Concepts: Identify the main concepts in your description (usually verbs and nouns). Avoid using relational words such as: affect, cause, impact. Example of main concepts from the prior research question: student, protest, media Brainstorm related words: What other words or phrases may be used to talk about your main concepts? Example: student: university, college, undergrad, grad. Protest: boycott, demonstration. Media: news, television, broadcast, CBC.

Ask Chat is Offline - Send an Email