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ENG101 Library Research Strategy

ENG101 Library Research Strategy

#Topic: Research Question

Importance of Developing a Good Research Question

Your research should be guided by a focused research question.

The question needs to be

  • Not too narrow, not too broad.
    • If you can answer the question with "Yes" or "No" or in very few words, the question isn't very focused. 
    • If you need to write a much longer paper than required or even write a book about it to answer the question, the question isn't very focused.
  • Specific, not vague
    • If you are asking "which is better," that is too vague of a question. This question does not state what you mean by "better."
  • Something you can research (find an adequate number of sources).
    • If you cannot locate enough sources to answer the question, you will need to reevaluate your question and refocus your direction.

After deciding exactly what your research question will be, do some preliminary searching to be sure you can answer the question.

Go to the library search box on the home page and begin searching to see what kind of information you can find in relation to your question. 

Developing a Research Question

This video will walk you through developing a focused research question. (Skip any beginning ads/commercials.)

Examples of Good v. Bad Research Questions

Below are some examples of good and not-so-good research questions.

Unclear vs. Clarity

Unfocused vs. Focused

Simple vs. Complex

Unclear: Why is climate change harmful?



Unfocused: Why are sugary drinks allowed in schools?



Too simple: Is addiction to gambling as serious as an addiction to drugs?


Clear: Does climate change have an effect on the intensity of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or other natural disasters?




Focused: What effect does marketing sugary drinks to teens have on teen obesity?





Properly Complex:
What are common traits of those addicted to gambling and drugs, and how can these commonalities be used to help the medical community in addiction rehabilitation?