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Raymond House Library: A FACT: Step 1: Ask

Your guide to the Raymond House Library


What question is being ASKED? What do you need to know?

The first thing you must do before your research even begins is to have a question to answer.

This is the stage when you need to understand exactly what the question is asking you.

Sometimes your teacher will ASK you to research and sometimes you will be ASKING a research question.

Start here

Ask yourself:

What do I know?

What do I need to know?

How can I find out?

1 Start by completing a KWL chart like the one below. Answer what you KNOW; what you WANT TO KNOW; what you want to LEARN.

2 Next, brainstorm your ideas. 

You need a good inquiry question

Why do you need to ask good questions? 

Qualities of a good research question:

  •  You cannot simply Google the answer.
  •  It is clear, specific and it can be answered.

Monash University's guide to developing a good research question and writing assignments

Duration: 4:33

How to develop and narrow a topic by creating a good research question by Laurier Library.

Duration: 6:23 min


When my teacher gives me a topic of inquiry

Ask yourself:

  1. What am I being asked to find out?

  2. Where will I find the information I need?

  3. How will I make sure that the sources I use are reliable?

  4. What am I being asked to create? What will my finished product look like?

  5. What further questions do I need to ask to be clear about what I have to do?


When I can choose my own topic

Ask yourself:

1. What interests me about this topic?

2. What do I already know, or think I know, about the topic?

3. What background information would help me get an overview of the topic?

4. What questions do I need to answer?

5. How will I find the information I need?

By the end of this stage, you should have a focused research question you can ASK.  The focus of your research will be to provide an answer to the question.