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ICS Capstone Seminar: Formulating a Research Question

Looking for a topic?

Idea Generator (Old Dominion University Libraries)
Click on a category to browse it and explore some ideas- then devise a more specific topic that can be turned into a research question.

CQ Researcher
Covers the most the most current and controversial issues of the day with complete summaries, insight into all sides of the issues, and bibliographies on the topic.  Excellent place to begin research on a topical issue.

Annual Reviews
Provides full-text review articles that summarize the current state of research on a subject by organizing, synthesizing, and critically-evaluating the relevant literature.  Most review articles provide a lengthy bibliography.

Narrowing Down Your Topic: The 4 W's

Research Question: What is the environmental impact of the disposal of plastic water bottles?

A hit!

What is the environmental impact of plastic water bottles?

Close! What is the impact of bottled water on the environment? (What aspect of bottled water?)

How does trash pollute the environment? (too broad: What kind of trash?)

Image courtesy William H. Hannon Library (Loyola Marymount University)

Formulating a Research Question

Image courtesy William H. Hannon Library (Loyola Marymount University)