What’s your research question?

March 14th, 2013 by John Pell

In our experience as librarians, Mason Brown and I have noticed many students who struggle with research questions. These students may confuse a research topic with a research question, have difficulty developing a question that is good fit for the scope of available information, or have difficulty in seeing the value of spending effort on developing a question that they will most likely have to change when they learn more about the subject that the question addresses.

Since Mason and I emphasize the importance of stating a research question in a library research assignment that we give to graduate students, we thought that it would be worthwhile to take some time to try to help our students avoid some of these commonly observed difficulties: We made a short video in which we explain why we think stating a question is an important part of the research process and what we think are some common mistakes to avoid.

There is a lot that could be said about the library research process, but we recognize that even people who find the subject fascinating have limited attention spans. This video is a part of a series of 5-minute shorts that we are developing to address concepts involved in the research process that we emphasize in our library research assignment for graduate students in the School of Public Health at Hunter College. Do you have ideas for research concepts that you think we should address? Please give it a look and let us know what you think.

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Posted in Health Professions Library, Library Instruction, Research, School of Social Work Library

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