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Key research skills

Brainstorm Your Topic

In your exploration, you probably found related concepts and ideas. Use them to create a concept map of ideas surrounding your topic. Try to answer some of the common reporter interview questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. This process will help you choose a direction for your research.

Develop a Research Question

Developing an answerable question will bring a focus to your topic and prompt you to look for specific information and resources. Consequently, it will save you time.

To begin, review your concept map and choose an issue that has the potential to be explored in greater detail. Think of underlying issues rather than a single fact. A fact such as, "illegal immigrants are coming into the United States" does not provide an opportunity for investigation and analysis.

Consider issues related to this fact such as the:

  • Impact of job opportunities for United States citizens
  • Strain on the healthcare system
  • Financial benefits to employers who fill low wage jobs
  • Challenges to the education system
  • Talents and skills immigrants bring to the United States

By using one of the above issues, you can create a research question. For example:

"How does illegal immigration impact job opportunities for United States citizens?"

Investigate Your Topic

Build Your Skills

Complete the "Develop Your Topic" section to help you direct your research for your paper.


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