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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


This guide provides quick and easy access to library resources for Rhetoric assignments as well as guidance on getting research and writing help.

Dissect Your Research Question: VIDEO

If the video is not opening, this may be a browser issue. Try viewing in Firefox. 

Alternatively, read the instructions and view the sample completed worksheet below. 

Dissect Your Research Question Instructions

Dissecting your research question helps you to identify the concepts or keywords to use when you search for information from articles and books. To dissect your research question:

  1. Print a copy of the "Dissect Your Research Question" handout linked in the box below. You can also view a completed sample worksheet.  
  2. Complete Step 1 on the worksheet: 
    1. Write down your initial research question. 
    2. Circle the keywords in your research question. (You should have two or three.) These are the words in your research question that are most important. They can be a single word or a short (2-3 word) phrase. 
  3. Complete Step 2 on the worksheet: 
    1. Write your keywords in the three boxes in the middle of the page, putting each keyword in a separate box.
    2. Brainstorm alternative keywords for each, including synonyms and other words people might use to describe these concepts.
    3. Write your alternatives in the the box associated with each keyword.  

Dissect Your Research Question Worksheets