Skip to main content

Lake Effect Research Toolkit

Design Chart: Question

Concept and Statement

Question: Pose a question that interests you and others, with an understanding that “research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions” (ACRL)

Basic Level Goals

Understand research as a creative and dynamic interplay of questions and answers, not the collecting of bits of information to support a predetermined thesis.

Become more engaged in research by claiming a personal stake and by joining their interests to those of others.

Context: How does this module relate to other modules and to likely research assignments for FY students?

Pursuing new knowledge in a community or conversation.

Help with Discovery by generating the terms for search statements and a basis for judging relevance or usefulness.

Potential help for organizing notes and presentation while using sources.

Pedagogical Challenge: What keeps students from making this module a meaningful learning experience?

Commonly held idea of research and learning as linear and one-way, based on collecting bits of facts, or right answers, to support a thesis.

[Looking for proof for what I already believe.]

Practice Outcome (Key Activities)

Question Formulation activity resulting in a preliminary research question of personal interest, and some planning of next steps. See Question Activity document.

Worksheet Documentation of Activity and Reflection on Learning

See Question Activity document.

Assessment Notes



Question Formulation Activity

If you use the Question Formulation Activity, we would appreciate receiving any feedback you can give us about it. We are still testing and developing this approach to teaching and learning the concept of research as inquiry. Send your comments to Jim Nichols.

Guiding Questions

This was my first exposure to the idea that questions can be more important than thesis statements in the writing process. I was a newly minted librarian at the time, so it was easy for me to carry this into my ideas about the research process.

Lauer, Janice M., Gene Montague, Andrea Lunsford, and Janet Emig. Four Worlds of Writing. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.
Ask a Librarian