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LRNR 30: Information Concepts and Research Skills: Exploring a Topic

General research guide for LRNR 30 class

Why Explore a Topic?

What is an exploratory search?

Your instructor has assigned you a topical research paper on technology and business, and you need to write a thesis statement.  You have no idea where to begin.

  • Exploratory research allows you to plan 
  • Topical databases provide background information, chronology and related topics and subject terms.  Are best for current information.
  • Provide pro/con resources to analyze various perspectives 
  • Sources can include newspapers, reports, topica overviews written by field experts, news (websites, newswires, newspapers, etc.), government reports and websites, court documents, books, organizations or associations, magazine (also known as periodicals), trade publications, conference proceedings, and more

Exploratory Library Databases

Using the 5Ws to Develop a Research Question

New Literacies Alliance (2:57)

Takes a topic and uses the 5Ws to create a focused research question.  Ask students to consider if the question works for the assignment at hand.  Also illustrates how research questions can be narrowed or expanded with the 5Ws.  The narrator mentions the challenges of questions that are too broad or too narrow.

Reference & Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias provide background information and gather facts.  These are excellent starting points and clarifying important concepts. 

Scan Sources for Ideas

  • news
  • magazines
  • specialized encyclopedias
  • SIRS, Opposing Viewpoints, CQ Researcher, Issues & Controversies
  • websites