Pre-searching is investigation to become familiar with potential topics for your in depth research.
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Explore topics by following these suggestions:
Essential Questions about your topic help guide you in your research.
As you do your pre-searching and fill in your KW(H)L(S) chart or jot down ideas, take a look at the (W) column or what you want to learn. The particular areas of your topic that you want to learn more about can lead you to the Essential or Focus Questions that will drive your inquiry research.
List these essential questions about your topic. Also consider what your intended audience would want answered (particularly if you are working on a persuasive speech or essay).
Use the Five Ws and the H: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How to create your essential questions.
For example: While pre-searching the topic, women's rights, I might add to my "want to learn" column:
From these sub-topic areas that I want to learn more about, I can develop the following essential questions:
The essential questions you create will guide you in the research process to identify useful sources of information, develop keywords for online searching, create a thesis statement and determine what information should be noted for use in your final product. Identifying essential questions is an important step in any inquiry research work.
Narrowing Your Topic
Many topics are very general and need to be narrowed to make them more manageable and easier to research. Consider the information you have already found about your topic. What ideas appear over and over? Select a focus which is interesting to you and which has appeared in several of the resources you have explored.
Use a Web Graphic To Narrow A Topic:
Use the ideas or sub-topics you have brainstormed in your pre-searching and write them in a web graphic organizer. What aspects of the topic interest you the most?
Let's use the topic of the country of Australia as an example:
Using Questions to Narrow A Topic:
Try asking questions about this area(s), using the same Five Ws and the H strategy.
After making your web and thinking about the topic ideas, select only one or at most two of these areas to focus on in your research. Try asking questions about THIS focus, using the same strategy (Five Ws and the H.)
Where are some interesting places to visit in Australia?