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READ 104 Reading Mastery (Johnson): Research is about Inquiry

Why Do Research?









It is easy to use just one resource, but you will develop a better understanding of your subject if you learn from a diversity of sources.

The more you know about your topic, the better informed your final work will be. 

Different kinds of resources get you different kinds of information and different points of view.  

Learn enough about your topic to be able to talk about why it matters, not just demonstrate what you have found.

What is Research?

Research is Inquiry.
It's all about asking questions, exploring answers and drawing conclusions. 

Know the process.

Step 1: Understand your assignment

  • Read your assignment
  • Ask questions
  • List starting requirements (number of sources, essay type, etc.)

Step 2: Start with a general topic idea 
  • Read background information in Reference works and learn
  • Ask questions
  • Identify key concepts and key words
  • Identify key issues and different points of view
  • Refine and focus your topic 
Step 3: Find information
  • Use keywords to search for information in books, articles, and other sources
  • Add to your keywords list: broader terms, narrower terms, related terms
  • Use smart search strategies 
Step 4: Evaluate
  • Assess your information sources for authority and bias
  • Are they good choices for your academic project?
Step 5: Cite Your Sources
  • Cite your sources 
  • Summarize and evaluate your sources in an annotated bibliography 

Topics for Individual or Group Projects


  • DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival)
  • Refugees (Travel Ban)
  • Detention  Centers
  • Shadow Prisons

Terrorism (at home and from abroad)

Factory Farms

Animal Cruelty

Strikes and Labor Unions

Sex Trafficking

Climate Change/Global Warming

Endangered Species/Animals

Same sex adoption

Fake News

Pollution (Plastics in the oceans)