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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rhetoric 105: Online

A library guide for Rhetoric 105: Online

Dissect Your Research Question: VIDEO

Dissect Your Research Question Instructions

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

  1. Print or download 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. Underline 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 column labeled "Main Keyword," putting each keyword in a separate box.
    2. Brainstorm synonyms, narrower keywords, and broader keywords and write your alternative keywords in the boxes the correspond with the associated main keyword.
  4. Complete Step 3 on the worksheet:
    1. Choose a keyword from each row and then add each selected keyword to its own search box when searching in a database.
  5. Complete Step 4 on the worksheet:
    1. Write down any new keywords that you discover as your search and find sources.

Dissect Your Research Question Worksheet