Developing a good research question can sometimes be the most difficult part of the research process. If you are struggling, follow the links below.
- Select a topic
- Develop research questions
- Identify keywords
- Find background information
- Refine your topic
Know Your Sources
1. Authority / Credibility
- Who is the author (person, company, or organization)?
- Does the source provide any information that leads you to believe the author is an expert on the topic?
- Can you describe the author's background (experience, education, knowledge)?
- Does the author provide citations? Do you think they are reputable?
- Can facts or statistics be verified through another source?
- Based on your knowledge, does the information seem accurate?
- Does it match the information found in other sources?
- Are there spelling or grammatical errors?
3. Scope / Relevance
- Does the source cover your topic comprehensively or does it cover only one aspect?
- To what extent does the source answer your research question?
- Is the source considered popular or scholarly?
- Is the terminology and language used easy to understand?
4. Currency / Date
- When was the source written and published?
- Has the information been updated recently?
- Is currency pertinent to your research?
5. Objectivity / Bias / Reliability
- What is the purpose or motive for the source (educational, commercial, entertainment, promotional, etc.)?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Is the author pretending to be objective, but really trying to persuade, promote or sell something?
6. Style / Functionality
- Is the source well-written and organized?
- To what extent is it professional looking?
- If it is a website, can you navigate around easily?
- If it is a website, are links broken?
Associate Director For Public Services