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ENC 1102 (Hernandez)

This guide is designed to help students with library research as they complete assignments in ENC1102 with Professor Hernandez at the Poinciana Campus.

Create a Research Question or Statement

Now that you have started narrowing or focusing your topic, the next step is to develop your topic into a research question. Some assignments may ask for a research statement instead. Be sure to double-check your assignment requirements.

One way to do this is to use a concept map (a visual map of your topic). A concept map can help you organize concepts central to your research topic. Asking yourself who, what, where, why, and when can help you organize your thoughts. Here's a good video describing using the 5 Ws to go from your broad topic to a more specific research question/statement. 

Steps to creating your research question.

  1. Start with your topic: e.g., Mental Health
  2. List all the concepts and themes using the 5 Ws related to the topic in your concept map. Using a thesaurus, subject encyclopedia (Gale eBooks database), or Wikipedia can help with this step.
  3. Create a possible research question (or statement) using the ideas from your concept map, 

Here is an example of a concept map using the 5 Ws to find ideas related to climate change.

  1. Start with your topic: e.g., Mental Health
  2. List all the concepts and themes using the 5 Ws related to the topic in your concept map.
  3. Create a possible research question (or statement) using the ideas from your concept map, e.g., Is mental health treatment different for men and women in the United States?

 

concept map example

Create a Search Strategy

After narrowing your topic and creating a potential research question/statement, another important part of the research process is finding your sources.  Searching the library databases is very different than searching Google for information. It requires the use of basic concepts or keywords to help you find your sources. To be successful in searching the databases, having a list of keywords related to your research question (statement) is essential.

  1. Start with your research question (statement) - Is mental health treatment different for men and women in the United States?
  2. Underline or circle all of the important words that you want to see in your search results. Is mental health treatment different for men and women in the United States? 
  3. These underlined keywords or concepts will become your search terms for your database search. For each keyword, try to think of synonyms, related terms, and/or different forms of the same word. The additional terms will help you find more information related to your topic.  You may also find that some of the words you came up with on your concept map become some of your keywords.
  4. Take a few minutes to write down all of the keywords you can think of so you can keep track of possible search terms.
  • Mental Health - mental health, mental illness, depression, anxiety
  • Treatment - treatment, therapy, prevention
  • Men and Women - men, women, gender differences
  • United States - United States, U.S.,  America

So you are now ready to search for your information. When searching the databases, it may be helpful to organize your keywords to produce the best results. Similar terms or keywords will be grouped together using the word OR and your main keywords will be separated by the word AND. See the example below. 

keyword worksheet example

When searching the databases, these search term groupings will be helpful in finding the sources closest to your topic. If you find that you are retrieving too much information, try adding a search term. By adding additional keywords, you can narrow your search and produce fewer results. On the other hand, if you find that you are not getting enough information, try broadening one of your keywords. For example, if I was searching for information on mental health in Florida and I found that I only got 10 results, I would broaden my topic to the United States instead of just one state. 

If you have any questions or need additional help, please feel free to contact me by email.

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